I had to wait 5 YEARS to see a dentist: Father, 43, in agony from toothache finally gets an appointment… on the back of a fully-kitted out lorry

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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A father who suffered sleepless nights due to severe toothache has finally had a check-up after a five-year wait.

Mark Thompson, from Wallsend, North Tyneside, said the dire lack of NHS dental appointments and soaring private costs left him unable to access the care that he desperately needed.

The 43-year-old was one of more than 100 people on a waiting list for free checks and treatment arranged by a charity clinic which travelled around Newcastle this week. 

Mr Thompson was finally was seen in the back of a kitted-out Dentaid lorry, which mirrors a typical dental office. 

Dentists were forced to remove the roots of a couple of his teeth that were causing him pain.

Mark Thompson (pictured undergoing treatment), suffered sleepless nights due to severe toothache has finally had a check-up after a five-year wait

The 43-year-old from Wallsend, North Tyneside, said the dire lack of NHS dental appointments and soaring private costs left him unable to access the care that he desperately needed

The 43-year-old from Wallsend, North Tyneside, said the dire lack of NHS dental appointments and soaring private costs left him unable to access the care that he desperately needed

The Dental Charity lorry makes a stop to see patients including Mr Thompson outside of St Silas Church in Byker in the east end of Newcastle

The Dental Charity lorry makes a stop to see patients including Mr Thompson outside of St Silas Church in Byker in the east end of Newcastle

How much does NHS dentistry cost?  

There are 3 NHS charge bands:

Band 1: £25.80

Covers an examination, diagnosis and advice. If necessary, it also includes X-rays, a scale and polish, and planning for further treatment.

Band 2: £70.70

Covers all treatment included in Band 1, plus additional treatment, such as fillings, root canal treatment and removing teeth (extractions).

Band 3: £306.80

Covers all treatment included in Bands 1 and 2, plus more complex procedures, such as crowns, dentures and bridges.

For comparison, check-ups can cost between £20 and £120 at private dentists, according to Which?.

Dentures and bridges can also cost up to £2,520, the consumer watchdog says.

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Mr Thompson told the Mirror: ‘I last saw a dentist five years ago and that’s because it’s so difficult to get an appointment. 

‘I lost my job about years ago. I have struggled to pay for food, let alone a dentist.’

Mr Thompson added the care at the clinic was ‘brilliant’. 

The Dentaid lorry, with the help of 50 volunteers, stayed in Newcastle for five days, which is the longest it has stayed in one place.

The North East has seen 96.8 per cent of dentists close their lists to new patients, according to latest figures.  

The Newcastle Foodbank, which signposted eligible patients to the service, said appointments were filled up within just two hours.

Adults and children had check-ups, treatments, emergency care and extractions.

Latest figures show roughly 26million adults (about 60 per cent of the population) haven’t had a check-up in the last two years.

This is one of the lowest proportions since modern records start in 2006. 

Some Brits have been forced to pull out their own teeth with pliers or travel abroad — including to Ukraine — to see a dentist because of dire lack of NHS access.

Others have been left with no choice but to queue from 4am outside newly-opened NHS practices in hope of securing a check-up. 

The Dentaid lorry, with the help of 50 volunteers, stayed in Newcastle for five days, which is the longest it has stayed in one place

The Dentaid lorry, with the help of 50 volunteers, stayed in Newcastle for five days, which is the longest it has stayed in one place

The back of the Dentaid lorry is kitted-out and mirrors a typical dental office

The back of the Dentaid lorry is kitted-out and mirrors a typical dental office

Scenes outside one surgery in Bristol earlier this year were described as being ‘reminiscent of Soviet-era Eastern Europe’.

A lack of NHS appointments has also been blamed for rising numbers of mouth cancer cases being missed, which is usually spotted in their earliest, and most treatable, stages during routine dental check-ups.

NHS dentistry has been in crisis for years, with leaders claiming the sector has been chronically underfunded, making it financially unviable to carry out treatments.

Exacerbating the problem is that, as more dentists leave the NHS, those that remain become swamped by more and more patients.

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