Labour's dental reforms must include people with epilepsy
Epilepsy Society has welcomed Labour’s pledge to tackle the NHS dental health care crisis but has warned that reforms must include a medical exemption for people with epilepsy who damage their teeth during a seizure.
Data from the charity shows that half of people who have suffered dental injuries during a seizure, have not had them repaired because they can’t afford the treatment. 69% had broken or chipped teeth, 61% had painful jaws and 31% had lost teeth.
And for many that means living without the teeth they have lost.
Reform long overdue
Clare Pelham, Chief Executive at the Epilepsy Society said: “The system is broken but so are people’s teeth. Reform is long overdue. Sir Keir Starmer’s rescue package must include people with epilepsy who are being penalised financially because their medical condition puts them at daily risk of breaking their teeth.
“If a person breaks their nose, or their arm or leg as a result of a seizure, the injury will be repaired for free on the NHS. But if they break their teeth – and many with epilepsy do – they are expected to foot the bill themselves or get by without their teeth.
“Toothpaste is often described as providing a “ring of confidence”. But when your front teeth are broken or missing, you have no smile and no confidence.
“Life is hard enough for people living with seizures. Surely the NHS can at least repair their broken teeth and give them their smile back.
“700,000 more dental appointments would be a welcome first step in ensuring that people get the treatment they need but it is essential that the NHS recognises the injustice of expecting people to pay for dental injuries that are caused by their medical condition and are beyond their control.”