William Kelly, 43, extracted part of his own tooth, leaving a black stump. He plans to pull one more.
New York Times: In a Dentist Shortage, British (Ouch) Do It Themselves
“I snapped it out myself,” said William Kelly, 43, describing his most recent dental procedure, the autoextraction of one of his upper teeth.
Now it is a jagged black stump, and the pain gnawing at Mr. Kelly’s mouth has transferred itself to a different tooth, mottled and rickety, on the other side of his mouth. “I’m in the middle of pulling that one out, too,” he said.
It is easy to be mean about British teeth. Mike Myers’s mouth is a joke in itself in the “Austin Powers” movies. In a “Simpsons” episode, dentalphobic children are shown “The Big Book of British Smiles,” cautionary photographs of hideously snaggletoothed Britons. In Mexico, protruding, discolored and generally unfortunate teeth are known as “dientes de ingles.”
But the problem is serious. Mr. Kelly’s predicament is not just a result of cigarettes and possibly indifferent oral hygiene; he is careful to brush once a day, he said. Instead, it is due in large part to the deficiencies in Britain’s state-financed dental service, which, stretched beyond its limit, no longer serves everyone and no longer even pretends to try.
Mr. Kelly, interviewed in a health clinic here as he waited for his son to see a doctor, last visited a dentist six years ago, in Sussex.
Since moving to Rochdale, a working-class suburb of Manchester, he has been unable to find a National Health Service dentist willing to take him on.
Every time he has tried to sign up, lining up with hundreds of others from the ranks of the desperate and the hurting â€” “I’ve seen people with bleeding gums where they’ve ripped their teeth out,” he said grimly â€” he has arrived too late and missed the cutoff.
“You could argue that Britain has not seen lines like this since World War II,” said Mark Pritchard, a member of Parliament who represents part of Shropshire, where the situation is just as grim. “Churchill once said that the British are great queuers, but I don’t think he meant that in connection to dental care.”
Britain has too few public dentists for too many people. At the beginning of the year, just 49 percent of the adults and 63 percent of the children in England and Wales were registered with public dentists.
Terrible treatment these British folks are receiving from their socialized government National Health Service. The government taxes the people exorbitantly, promises them basic dental care and then screws the patients and the dentists.
Is there any wonder why Tony Blair’s government sustained major losses in elections last week?
So, what is the solution?
Well, not the recruitment of Polish dentists to do work “that British dentists will NOT do.” Does this sound familiar?
The solution: privitization of British dentistry with government vouchers for the poor and indigent. And…. a little chairty form the British Dental Association until privitization kicks in fully.
Of course, there can always be more “Do It Yourself” stories.
George Glasper, 81, at the Dental Access Center in Rochdale. It gives emergency care but is always swamped.
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