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Is NHS dental care in crisis?

More than 100 family dentists have signed an open letter to The Telegraph newspaper to highlight their concerns for their profession.

They write: “We are witnessing the manipulation of Government figures and statistics that hide the rotten truth, such as dumbing-down how decay is measured and reported, by avoiding modern methods like X-Rays. Just using ‘visible’ eyesight alone misses the hidden decay that’s rotting the population’s teeth.”

They accuse the government of causing NHS dentistry to be “unfit for purpose” as a result of “continuous limitations and compromise”.

Examples of dental negligence are increasing and in the case of one man, whose dentist failed to diagnose a jaw infection, he has now got the scars to prove it.

The 40 year old man visited his NHS dentist following days of increasing tooth ache and was assessed and treated with 3 composite fillings. After returning home, the discomfort in his mouth persisted and in fact increased more severely. He returned to the dentist the day after the fillings and was prescribed painkillers and advised this was normal.

After 12 days of extreme pain, antibiotics and numerous surgery visits he decided in desperation to go to the emergency clinic at the University Dental Hospital in Cardiff. There he was quickly diagnosed with an extensive jaw infection which would have caused the initial pain and was in fact made worse by the treatment provided by the NHS dentist. He was required to have surgery under general anaesthetic to drain the fluid from his jaw, bathe the infected area in antibiotics and removal of two teeth as a result of the infection.

The patient was left with a one inch scar on his cheek and damage to mouth tissue and nerve endings.

The dentist should have recognised the signs of a jaw infection which are inflamed and swollen gums combined with intense pain in the mouth area. The treatment provided only served to make matters worse and cause unnecessary pain, discomfort and disfiguring to the patient.

If you have been a victim of dental negligence or know someone who may have been then please contact our specialist solicitors now on 0800 1979 345 for an informal chat to discuss your potential claim. You have a right to good quality dental care and we need to identify poor practice to prevent repeated poor practice.