Peter Owen, 19, was in agony for a week as he tried SIX times to have a tooth out. He was eventually rushed to hospital after an abcess on the tooth swelled so much that it blocked his windpipe. Peter had an emergency tracheotomy - where a breathing tube is inserted through a hole in the throat - and was on life support for two days.
Mum Wynn, 47, said last night: "Peter nearly died because there is a shortage of dentists. "It is shameful that someone should be taken to hospital fighting for his life just because of toothache." Peter was not registered with an NHS dentist when he developed raging toothache. Wynn rang NHS Direct who told her there were NO available dentists near their home in Colwyn Bay, North Wales. The nurse who answered suggested the emergency dentist at Royal Alexandra Hospital in Rhyl could see him - but not for six days.
Next day Peter went to a dental centre in his home town who told him the tooth must come out. But he was quoted a total of 121 pounds which he could not afford on his Jobseeker's Allowance. The next day he went to Colwyn Bay Community Hospital - but was told they were not taking any more dental patients. The day after that Peter's pain was becoming unbearable as his mouth began to swell.
Wynn called her doctors' surgery saying her son needed antibiotics for the pain. But she was told they did not deal with dental matters. Desperate, the pair then went to Glan Clwyd hospital where a nurse said he HAD to see a doctor. But after waiting two hours they had to go as Wynn was in agony with a shoulder problem. The following day Peter saw the dentist at Royal Alexandra Hospital who confirmed he needed the tooth out.
He prescribed antibiotics - and Peter made an appointment for an extraction four days later. But his condition got worse and the next day Wynn rang NHS Direct again, saying: "You're going to kill this lad." That night Peter could not breathe and dad Gareth rushed him back to Glan Clwyd, near Rhyl, where surgeons performed the emergency surgery. He was eventually allowed home a week later.
Wynn said: "It's a terrible story. These kids can't afford a private dentist and there are no NHS dentists anywhere. "I also blame the Welsh Assembly for the shortage of dentists in our area."
Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust said: "We can't discuss individual cases. But if Mrs Owen contacts patient services at the hospital we will discuss her concerns." A Welsh Assembly spokesman said: "Steps are being taken to address the issue of dentists."
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