'It's unfair she has to suffer' - Family's anger over disabled daughter's tooth pain
- Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021
The parents of a disabled woman are calling for better care for those with complex and special needs as they try to get dental treatment for their daughter.
Bonnie Large, from Norwich, has Angelman Syndrome, a genetic condition that affects the nervous system and causes severe physical and learning disabilities.
The 24-year-old requires care full time from her parents Paul and Andrea, of Ruskin Road, as she is unable to walk or speak.
Mr Large said his daughter began experiencing pain a couple of months ago, holding her ears.
She was put on antibiotics for two weeks and continued to experience pain and her GP said the family should take her to the dentist.
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She is registered at Siskin Dental Centre, in Bowthorpe, which is run by Community Dental Service (CDS). Before the pandemic she was being seen every six months to help her get used to the staff.
With her pain growing, the couple have been pushing for their daughter to be treated under sedation in hospital.
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They said they had been told it could be a further three months before she was seen.
An NHS England spokesman said treatment was provided by the NHS and undertaken by general dental practices or special care dental services.
Mr Large said: "Bonnie cannot speak. We are trying to speak for her and they are not listening."
She was seen at the practice's Thorpe site on June 18 with a further appointment on Friday. The family said it was unfair she was having to keep medicating on pain relief in the meantime.
Mrs Large said: "This is so unfair how Bonnie has just got to suffer with pain."
Jason Stokes, secretary of Norfolk's Local Dental Committee, said ongoing safety measures were significantly reducing the number of patients at dental practices.
A spokesman for CDS said when it was not possible to determine the cause of the pain, staff would discuss with patients or their carers about further investigation and treatment options.
The CDS spokesman said: "As is the case here, when a patient is unable to verbally describe their pain, it can be very difficult to accurately determine where it is coming from and consequently, what treatment would best alleviate it.
"Pain in the head and neck region can come from many sources. It is not uncommon for toothache to feel like earache, or for pain to be caused by erupting teeth, or the facial muscles or nerves."
Alex Stewart, of Healthwatch Norfolk, said more work was needed to try and understand the demand for appointments for those with special needs.