Dental injuries "because of epilepsy - not accidents": Hayley's story
Hayley Maloney’s life turned on its head when she started having seizures five years ago. They have left her unable to work, massively impacted her ability to socialize, affected her mental health and she has suffered many physical injuries because of them. One unexpected, major consequence of her epilepsy is the array of dental problems it has caused.
What makes it worse for Hayley (44) is that she has received no support from the NHS and cannot afford private fees, and so she has been completely unable to receive the dental treatment she requires.
Sadly, Hayley’s story is not uncommon for people with epilepsy. Many people with epilepsy struggle to receive the necessary dental care, despite their epilepsy causing repeated, regular damage to their teeth.
During past seizures she has bitten her cheek, tongue, and lips – causing lots of bleeding, pain, and uncomfortable scarring.
The scars in her mouth act as a constant reminder of her epilepsy, no matter where she is: “I can feel the lumps and bumps in my mouth all the time. I hate it.”
These injuries often make Hayley feel very self-conscious when she is in public, she said she feels “like such a freak because half my face is swollen, and it makes me very anxious.”
Not only does she suffer from soft-tissue injuries, but her teeth are especially vulnerable to fractures or breaks during a seizure. Since she cannot get an NHS dentist, she is forced to have them removed – leaving her with multiple missing teeth.
“When my teeth break during a seizure, I have no choice but to go to the emergency dentist. All they really do is pull the teeth out – there is no way for me to get the treatment I need through the NHS.”
“It isn’t fair, my injuries are because of my epilepsy, not careless accidents. The damage to my teeth leaves me in extreme physical discomfort and feeling self-conscious and something needs to be done to help people with epilepsy get the care we deserve.”
Why can't Hayley get the help she needs?
Hayley has been left to deal with these problems alone, not even able to get on the waiting list of any NHS dentists in her hometown of Norwich.
Private dentists are also a no-go for Hayley - they are simply unaffordable, especially with the current cost of living crisis. A visit to the cheapest private dentist available “cost me £75 and he didn’t give me any help at all. All he did was tell me it would cost another £4500 for the treatment.”
“Which is completely ridiculously expensive. Especially as I would have to pay more in the future, if I suffer damage from another seizure”.
“I strongly believe that there should be better treatment options available for people with epilepsy, to help us be able to deal with the constant and reoccurring dental issues caused by our seizures”.
Learn more about our campaign
Simply put, we are calling for free dental repairs to teeth damaged by seizures.
We believe that people with epilepsy who have damaged their teeth due to seizures should not have to pay large sums of money for repairs. They have a medical condition, and we believe they should have this treatment for free. No costs, no rising fees. Just free treatment for medically caused damage.
Do you agree? 96 per cent of those who responded to our survey do. Why not write to your MP, Sign our petition, share our infographic on social media, read our personal stories and send us your own thoughts on free dental treatment. You can reach out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or via firstname.lastname@example.org