Children facing long waits for dental treatment

13 October 2021
1 min read

We recently shared that NHS dentistry delays are now so severe that some patients are resorting to removing their own teeth – with one woman revealing that she had removed 11 of her own teeth after failing to secure a spot at an NHS practice.  

However, these delays are also affecting the oral health, and general wellbeing, of children.  

The BBC has reported that nine-year-old Grace, from Leicestershire, was put on a waiting list in January, 10 months ago, for an extraction that needs to be performed under anesthetic. As a result, Grace has “missed school, lost sleep and even had her face swell up,” her mother, Heather, told the broadcaster.  

Speaking of her experience, Grace also shared, “It's horrible, it's really bad. It happens every few weeks and then I have to eat soft food and can't jump or run without pain.” 

The uncertainty of when the procedure will take place only adds to the stress of the situation, with Heather also noting that "We don't know whether it is going to be weeks, months or even another year. It feels cruel to keep a nine-year-old waiting for all this time." This is because despite being on an emergency waiting list, Grace is not guaranteed immediate treatment.  

Having the treatment privately could still incur a wait, along with fees of up to £2,500. 

Philip Martin, chair of British Dental Association for East Midlands, told the BBC, "With the lockdowns, they have delayed things but even after lockdowns have ended, within the hospitals some of the theatres which would have been used for general anesthetics and dentistry are having to be used for more urgent services like cancer patients."