A woman in ‘excruciating pain’ from toothache says one dentist she phoned advised her to use a nail file to “remove sharp edges”.
Jessie Lynn says the “absolutely barbaric” suggestion to provide emergency relief to a troublesome tooth had horrified her.
“Imagine if I filed my own tooth down, caught my gum and caused a serious infection,” she said.
“It would be like a scene from Breaking Bad.”
Her troubles began in March when she noticed a small hole in an upper back tooth and phoned Wisbech Dental Access Centre at North Cambridgeshire Hospital.
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A dentist suggested that Jessie should use a temporary filling kit, which proved unsuccessful.
“I was unsuccessful using it because it was painful to touch my tooth and it didn’t actually stick to my tooth,” she said.
“Because of Covid, I assumed this was why there are only telephone appointments, so I left my tooth until the pain got really bad as I thought dentists would soon be back to normal.”
Jessie called NHS 111 yesterday (Thursday) and was told to see a dentist within 12 hours.
She again phoned Wisbech Dental Access Centre but they were unable to help.
“The dentist advised me to file my own tooth using a nail file to remove sharp edges!” Jessie said.
“They said there were no appointments available and I would need to call back Monday, June 28 to be triaged again and possibly again on Tuesday.”
She rang NHS 111 again “and a paramedic advised me it’s likely I will now get an infection in my tooth as it’s hollow and exposed.
“This is absolutely barbaric. I’ve never known anything like it.”
However, there is a ray of hope.
Today she had a voicemail message from the dental access centre offering her an early appointment.
Despite this, she remains frustrated with how she has been treated and wants to see change.
“I feel like dental practices and doctors’ surgeries have got too comfortable with this telephone system since Covid.
“This is how unwell people are going unnoticed and treatment is being delayed.”
Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, which runs Wisbech Dental Access Centre, has been approached for comment.