"NHS dental funding sham"

About: Guy's Hospital / Dental medicine specialities

(as the patient),

I would like to complain about how our NHS dentistry system is currently run in regards to allocation/funding of treatments. I am a 38 year old female who had an accident when I was younger. I hit my mouth in a bicycle accident, which caused my two front teeth roots to not develop correctly. I had severe crooked front teeth that over lapped due to the trauma, but was never referred to an orthodontist at any stage prior to the age of 18. The trauma to my two front teeth was never picked up by any dentist at any of my normal appointments, despite many X rays at general appointments. I always attended my regular 6 month checks.

I then had a skin cancer scare, and went for tests which luckily enough came back negative but during the consultation I told the Dr I had dark patches on my gums. She checked them and referred me Guys/St Thomas Hospital, where I was meant to be under the care of one consultant but dealt with two. They could see how distressed I was with the situation. I was told after many tests and x rays at Guys that, due to trauma, my roots in my front teeth had not fully developed and I also had a perio disease on top of this, which was never picked up by my normal dentist at my 6 month checks. I then was told I would start a treatment programme to eliminate the problem, I followed a strict regime of cleaning as advised.

I was referred to the training college at Guys, and was treated by a student who, to be honest, was never supervised whilst treating me. I was not happy with this as, considering the extent of my problem, I felt I should have been treated by the consultant himself. After the treatment concluded, my gums were a mess due (I believe) to a student dealing with it. After 1 year, I approached a consultant (not my one) to ask if I could now have an orthodontic brace in order to align my teeth to assist with better cleaning.

He stated I could as all was under control now – my 2 front teeth were never treated during this 2 year period, although I constantly requested it. I had an infection in my UR1, which they left for 5 months. This had to be treated twice at dental emergency dept before they sent me for a root canal and after this I went ahead and got a brace privately. £2,900 paid monthly as this was not available to me on the NHS due to my age.

My teeth had always caused me distress as I have never been able to smile and covered my mouth when laughing. It affected me throughout my whole life, causing me depression on 2 occasions, where I had to take time off work and this made me extremely unhappy. It has affected my work, as I have to speak and deal with the public and internal and external agencies but can’t smile.

I was feeling like I was getting somewhere when my brace went on, and continued to attend Guys for my usual deep cleaning. I was told my gums etc and condition were in good order. However, late last year 08 I was informed by my consultant that he was sorry to tell me that my 2 front teeth would eventually fall out. This was due to the short root problem, due to trauma, and the two teeth next to them could not hold a bridge and would weaken if implants were not put in and he would put in an application for me to obtain funding for 2 implants, as this would keep my bone in better condition. A bridge was not a good option, as it would weaken remaining teeth and bone support, and I was too young for dentures. He assured me that this was the best option for me, considering my circumstances. He stated he would do this immediately, in order for the teeth to be removed, as he wanted to take them out and start quickly whilst my brace was still on. They would do the implants, and attach 2 front teeth to my brace as a splint, as I would be toothless while I waited for the implants to take and then after 6 months the brace could be removed and the implants added. My treatment would then be complete and I would just need to come back every 6 months for cleaning.

My brace was due to come off months ago but due to having to wait for the treatment by Guys I had to leave it on longer than necessary as it was required to assist my implant treatment. I cant take it off as I cant eat due to my tooth which is so mobile I could pull it out with my hand. Due to the brace, a different consultant said I could have, both front teeth are now mobile and will fall out, hence the implant application.

I was informed yesterday that a Dr had refused my consultants application and I am unable to have the implants my consultant wanted me to have. I am very distressed, upset and angry as I don’t know what to do. I cant afford private treatment as implants are very expensive, but if I don’t get them my long term prognosis for my other teeth would not be good, and in the end would cost the NHS far more to treat than 2 implants now to prevent further problems. I can’t continue to keep my brace on but I can’t take it off due to the condition of my 2 front teeth which are being held in by my brace.

I have had appointment after appointment cancelled and it has taken a year for some sort of plan to be implemented, and my consultant was not even able to attend yesterdays appointment to tell me the news, as no doubt he was busy doing private work – therefore I was given the news at the end of my appointment by a student who just said by the way my consultants application was refused by another Dr, who I have never met.

I don’t know where to turn now or what to do – I am stuck in Limbo as I can’t remove my brace even though I need to, as I cant eat with teeth this mobile. Guys have no treatment plan in place for me now, as the implant option was my treatment plan and even that took them a year to decide that was the best route.

I am seeking legal advice at this time as I am annoyed that I was advised I could have a brace to straighten my two crooked front teeth, when they knew the teeth would eventually fall out, due to the short roots, so I have paid £2,900 for nothing on their advice. Then I was told it was better I got the brace to move my teeth into alignment as it is better for the implant treatment

I work hard, pay my taxes and what do I get for it? Who decides who is entitled to treatment and who is not? All this trauma, over the cost of £4000 for my treatment, I have paid more than that with 5 months tax and NI. I am aware of a case where a drunk lad had a fight and knocked his tooth out fighting and he got an implant, that was of his own doing, mine is not and this will affect my life and job with no front teeth. I have never been a drain on the NHS and this is the first time I have been in such a position where I desperately need such treatment on the NHS

Apparently I was told by the student that my application was refused on the basis that I had periodontilitas disease, but I don’t as it has been fully treated or I would not have been allowed to get a brace, as advised by a different consultant and my orthodontist Even after periodontilitas, which I have not had for a year now, specialists and dentists state you can have implants once this condition has cleared up and you have enough bone, which my consultant stated I do and you can prove good hygiene etc, which I have done for the last year at Guys. Therefore I feel I am being rejected for no valid reason other than budget. I feel I am not receiving the due care that I am entitled to and pay tax for. If the consultant (name no names), who is a top consultant did not think I met the criteria for this treatment, he would not have put forward the application in the first place. He stated the funding would come through in January and all my treatment would be completed by July.

I have been dealing with this now for 2 years or more and can’t cope anymore, its making me ill!

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