Six extractions but no replacements: Conor's story
A man from Dorset has had to have six teeth extracted due to his epileptic seizures – but the NHS is not willing to provide financial support to get them replaced.
Conor Holgate's life is a whirlwind of activity. He has three children under six and when not spending time with his family, Conor, loves Marvel superhero films, socialising with friends and football.
But Conor also has epilepsy, and this has taken its toll. While his general health is improving, one huge challenge remains: his teeth.
28-year-old Conor was diagnosed with epilepsy after suffering three cardiac arrests at the age of 21. Almost immediately he began to notice the damage seizures caused to his teeth.
Conor says: “Most people know about the damage a seizure can cause to the body – black eyes, cuts, even head injuries – but far fewer people are aware of the impact on teeth.
“When my epilepsy was at its very worst, before I found medication that worked for me, I was having seizures, blacking out and causing serious damage to my teeth. Of course, that doesn't just stop either. Over time, I was breaking more and more teeth and suffering more and more pain.”
Conor's story is sadly all too familiar for many people with epilepsy. In our recent survey 69 per cent of respondents told us they had broken or chipped teeth as a result of a seizure.
For Conor, the damage has been severe.
“I have had to have six teeth removed because of damage and pain caused by seizures. While I was fortunate to have this done at a capped price on the NHS, not everyone has access to that.”
And unfortunately for Conor, while he can get NHS treatment to have his teeth removed, they won't offer replacements, meaning he would have to shell out potentially thousands of pounds to fill the gaps in his smile.
“I’m pleased that the NHS will remove the broken and damaged teeth, but why can't they replace them too?”, Conor says.
“It feels as though they are only doing half a job, and it is completely unfair. The damage to my teeth is through no fault of my own. It is because of my medical condition: epilepsy. Why should someone like me, who has damaged numerous teeth during seizures, be punished for my disability? I am so frustrated and feel something needs to be done.”
At the Epilepsy Society, we are very aware of the concerns many people with epilepsy have regarding dental care. Which is why we have launched our FixIt4Free 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 email@example.com