A bloke claims that he’s had to wear a dead OAP’s dentures because he was unable to get an NHS dentist.
Matt Bonnell, 53, wears an elderly patient’s false teeth donated to him by the pensioner’s widow after he says he was turned away from 20 dental surgeries.
The landscape gardener, who is entitled to free NHS dentistry as part of his Universal Credit claim, has been trying to get his top denture fixed for a year and a half.
Matt believed that the only way he could see a dentist was if he went private, but he could not afford the fees and so resorted to using the dentures of a man he met in hospital while visiting his mother.
The bloke offered Matt his dentures after hearing about his struggles.
The gardener disinfected the teeth and filed them down until they fit his mouth, but it’s not a perfect solution.
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.
“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.”
Matt, from Preston, Lancashire, got his first full upper denture when he was 42 after a bicycle accident.
This broke four years ago, but then fully snapped 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.”
The bloke says that his lack of dentures has caused self esteem issues.
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 that he is grateful to the woman who donated her husband’s dentures, but he never got her address to 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 spokesperson for NHS England and NHS Improvement (North West) said: “We have made contact with Mr Bonnell and we are working with this patient to ensure they get the treatment they require.”
“Like all NHS services, dentistry has been extremely challenged throughout the pandemic and dental commissioners across the North West are working with Local Dental Committees, dental networks and practices to monitor the safe restoration of services.
“Anyone in dental pain or in need of support or advice, can call their own dental practice or the dental helpline on 0300 1234 010 for urgent help, or if they don’t have their own dentist.”
The Daily Star contacted NHS North West for comment.
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