Norfolk patients share dental dilemmas

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The Coronavirus has impacted every aspect of society. As dental practices work to clear backlogs after a prolonged period of lockdown, patients in West Norfolk have been sharing their tales of dental woe.
The area was already one of the worst affected in terms of dental access, but the crisis has contributed to widespread problems for patients hoping to secure a dental appointment. The local newspaper has reported several people getting in touch to share their experiences, with some resorting to DIY dentistry and others facing long trips to see a dentist. One patient was informed that they would have to travel to either Boston, Lincolnshire or Lowestoft in Suffolk to get an appointment. Another had stuck their tooth with superglue after being unable to see a dentist.
The lockdown has undoubtedly been difficult for patients, but it has also been extremely challenging for dental professionals. The Covid-19 crisis is unprecedented, and nobody was prepared for the scale of disruption to health services across the board. Nationally, thousands of people are waiting for dental and medical treatment as a result of practice closures and reduced services, which were enforced to try and protect patients and staff and reduce the spread of the virus.
Patients in West Norfolk are hoping to be able to get back to the dentist as soon as possible, but they are worried that the situation will make access problems even worse in the future. Norfolk County Council’s health and scrutiny committee met recently to discuss the issue, and councillors have appealed for help from health officials and ministers to provide better access to dental services for local residents.

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