NHS dentistry: Ex-miner ‘thrilled’ to get appointment after seven-month wait

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A former miner whose teeth fell out has said he is “thrilled” to finally get an NHS dental appointment after suffering seven months of agony.

David Creamer, from Rotherham, said he had been “living on painkillers and soup” since June after being unable to get the dental treatment he needed.

Mr Creamer said he contacted 16 NHS dentists but could not be seen.

Eventually he opted for private consultation and was told he needed all his teeth removing at a cost of £5,000.

Mr Creamer has now been offered an NHS dentist in Rotherham after his plight was highlighted on BBC Radio Sheffield.

The 62-year-old lost a crown in June while eating a sandwich in Blackpool, and five of his teeth fell out.

His GP prescribed painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication but Mr Creamer said he was told he needed to be referred by an NHS dentist in order to be seen at a dental hospital.

Eventually, Mr Creamer said, he paid for a private consultation and was told all his teeth other than two or three at the back had decayed and were “unsaveable”.

They needed extracting by a dental surgeon, followed by several weeks of healing and then denture fitting, he was told.

But Mr Creamer said that as he was on benefits, he could not afford the £5,274 bill for the work.

Dave Creamer
Image caption,

Dave Creamer said that as a 62-year-old on benefits he could not afford the £5,274 bill for private dentistry

Eddie Crouch, chair of the British Dental Association (BDA), said hundreds of people nationwide needed hospital care because of a lack of dental surgeries.

He said 12,000 people were struggling to find an NHS dentist.

Mr Crouch saId: “It isn’t about extra money but about [working] to prevent these problems… otherwise people like Dave turn up in other areas of the health service which costs more in the long run.”

The BDA said government had allowed NHS dentistry to “fall off a cliff” and “promised ring fences are torn down around a budget that’d already been cut to the bone”.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Access to dentistry is improving – last year 1.7 million more adults and some 800,000 more children saw an NHS dentist – and we have also announced plans to increase dental training places by 40%.

“We invest £3bn each year to deliver NHS dentistry and we are also taking preventative measures, such as expanding water fluoridation schemes to reduce the number of children experiencing tooth decay.

“We want every adult and child who needs an NHS dentist to get one regardless of where in England they live. We have already taken steps to improve access and incentivise practices to deliver more NHS dental care, and will set out new measures in our Dental Recovery Plan in due course.”

Mr Creamer said he was “over the moon” that he had now been offered an appointment and would finally be free from pain, but “disgusted” and “astounded” that he had to go to the media first.

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