Shropshire

Coronavirus: 'I tried to remove my tooth with pliers'

Fay Rayward
Image caption Fay Rayward lost an upper tooth after it split in two during lockdown

A woman suffering with "immense" toothache tried to pull her tooth out with pliers having failed to get a dental appointment during lockdown.

But Fay Rayward, who had asked friends on Facebook for help, only managed to make the tooth "wobbly".

Ms Rayward, of Telford, Shropshire, eventually had the tooth removed at an Urgent Dental Care hub (UDC) but said the current system was "not working".

The government said the hubs were helping those who needed urgent care.

Local practices were told to suspend routine services on 25 March, to slow the spread of coronavirus and to set up the local hubs.

Ms Rayward said after a large filling came out "the tooth actually split in half and that's when the pain really started to take hold".

"The pain for me was worse than childbirth. I have never experienced pain like it, it was searing through the side of my face. It was just awful," she said.

Image caption Fay Rayward said she was advised about pain killers and offered antibiotics but just wanted relief from "extreme pain"

She said her own dentist was "sympathetic" and advised her on pain relief but told her the UDCs were for emergencies such as infections.

Another dentist offered antibiotics, but the pain would not go and so she tried to remove the tooth herself.

"I think I probably moved it quite a bit but not as much to relieve any sort of pain," she said.

The following day she called several dentists and was eventually seen at a UDC where her tooth was extracted, bringing "immediate" relief.

Image caption David Cottam said dentists want to see their own patients and called for a "phased reopening" of services

David Cottam, chair of Practitioners' Committee of the British Dental Association, said the system under lockdown was "working better than it was" but treatment at hubs was "very, very limited" and meant some teeth were taken out rather than saved.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the Commons on Monday "anyone who needs urgent dentistry" should be able to go to one of the hubs, adding the government was working to "get dentistry safely up and running when we can".

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