A MAN who says he was denied access to NHS dental care, was forced to wear dentures from a dead man.
Matt Bonnell, 53, has ended up wearing the teeth of an elderly patient, donated by his widow after he had been refused by about 20 dentist surgeries due to Covid-19.
Matt Bonnell has to wear a dead OAP’s dentures[/caption]
He says he was refused by 20 dentist surgeries due to Covid-19[/caption]
The landscape gardener who is entitled to free dental care as part of his Universal Credit aid has been trying to get his top denture fixed for 18 months.
He felt his only option was to go private – which he cannot afford so he resorted to using the dentures of an OAP he met in hospital while visiting his mother.
The old man offered his teeth after Matt told him about his struggle to get his own sorted.
And when he died a few days later, the man’s wife gave Matt permission to take the teeth.
He disinfected the teeth and filed them down to make them fit.
Matt said: “It feels like discrimination. I can’t get free dental care because of Covid but they’ll do it if you pay for it. It doesn’t make sense.
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“I’ve been trying to get my top denture fixed for 18 months, but every dentist says they’re not taking on new patients because of coronavirus.
“When I visited my mum in hospital I started talking to an old man about how I couldn’t get my teeth sorted.
“He said I could have his teeth when he died as he wasn’t getting out of there, and his wife actually gave them to me.
“The man died a few days later. It’s a terrible state of affairs.”
ONE PIECE LEFT
Matt, from Preston, Lancs., got his first full upper denture at 42 years old after a push-bike accident.
Although his top denture broke around four years ago, the problems began when they snapped into even more pieces around 18 months ago.
He added: “I managed at first because I could keep the pieces in my mouth as there was still suction despite them being broken.
“But I was eating a peanut one day and it broke again, and then I lost a piece.
“Now I only have one piece left which has about five teeth on it, and I’ve been using that to stop my face from collapsing.”
Matt says he has experienced self-esteem issues as a result and is unable to smile without covering his mouth.
He added: “I can’t eat or drink in front of people because I dribble. It’s embarrassing.
“I take pride in my appearance and I’ve always taken care of myself, but this makes me feel ugly.”
Matt said he will be forever grateful to the lady who donated her husband’s dentures, but never got her name or address to properly thank her.
He added: “The fact her husband was dying and she still had the thought of helping me made me cry.
“I’m kicking myself that I never got her name or address.
“I really hope I can find her to say thank you.”
A spokesman for NHS England said dentistry has been “extremely challenged throughout the pandemic.”
They added: “Dental commissioners across the North West are working with Local Dental Committees, dental networks and practices to monitor the safe restoration of services.
“We are working with this patient to ensure they get the treatment they require.”
Matt says he is grateful to the old man’s widow who donated his teeth[/caption]