A man living in Plymouth was told that nothing could be done about his dental problems for at least eighteen months as the demands on his local dental surgery were just too great. Dave Clark, originally from Coventry, told the Plymouth Herald that he had been suffering from toothache on and off for the past five years but found no one to help him when the pain escalated recently.
Dave, 50, described the pain as ‘agony’ and explained how he was told by dental services in Devon that there is no dental surgery between Efford, where he lives, and North Devon that is taking on new NHS patients. He explained that his gums had receded due to age but also because he is a long-time smoker; he was also unable to brush without pain because of the discomfort – which exacerbated the problem. When he was referred to Plymouth Dental Access Centre he was told that the only treatment was to pull the front teeth out.
Dave said that his experience was ‘quite traumatic’ and said that ‘if they pulled my teeth out I’d be walking around with tombstones in the front of my mouth and no teeth.’ He finally decided, as a last resort, to phone his local MP, Oliver Colvite, and was told by a lady at the office that he could be referred to a dentist within an hour; he found it easier to get an appointment by simply walking into the surgery, rather than calling over the phone. After undergoing treatment at Smile Dental Care, he was then taken on as an NHS patient and he ‘can talk again’ after being put on antibiotics.