Elderly Wexford man who had to pull out his own teeth said he blames the Government not the dentists

An elderly Wexford man who was forced to take out his own teeth after failing to get an appointment at seven dental practices, said he blames the Government and not the dentists for the situation.

ean Hayes (80) of Taghmon said he contacted seven dentists in Wexford town after his four bottom front teeth started to become loose, making eating and brushing his teeth very difficult.

“The problem started about three months ago. I went to seven dentists looking for an appointment but because I hadn’t been to a dentist in a long time, I wasn’t listed with any of them and they couldn’t take me”, said the pensioner and medical card holder.

Mr Hayes said he also visited the Wexford Primary Care Centre in Grogan’s Road, Wexford but “they couldn’t do anything for me either.”

A few weeks ago, he removed the teeth himself by pulling them out with his fingers.  “I took out my teeth myself. As they got looser, I  took them out. I’m now going around with a gap.

“I got them that loose that I was able to pull them out. It wasn’t an easy job. It was like going  back to the 1930s and 1940s when people had to do that”, said the retired businessman who ran his own oil company S&A Oil for many years.

“I don’t blame the dentists, I blame the Government. A dentist with a medical card patient is paid €39 for taking out a tooth. The Government is not paying dentists enough for the work they do, so they don’t want to take medical card patients.”

Mr Hayes said none of the dentists he contacted specified that they weren’t taking him on because he had a medical card. “That never came up. It was because I wasn’t in the system and they weren’t taking on any new people. I haven’t been to a dentist in 30 years, the dentist I went to passed away, I never had to go to a dentist.”

He said there are people like him all over the country facing the same difficulty in obtaining emergency dental appointments and he is determined to highlight the issue.

“There are more people than me suffering like this. I’m determined that something is done about it. It has been brushed under the carpet for too long. A lot of people out there have contacted me about it.”

“I don’t want fame. I just want to get a set of teeth in the front of my mouth.”

Wexford Aontú councillor Jim Codd said: “This man worked all his life. He started out from humble beginnings and he and his wife built up an oil business and paid tax upon tax and this is how he is treated.”

“It points to what the current powers that be think of the weak and the vulnerable. These are old people who have worked hard and paid tax and given their all to family and society and this is how it ends up for them”

Cllr Codd said Mr Hayes paid tax all his life, never asked for, or received help, and now feels abandoned by the state.

“In this country, when you retire, you get put on the dung heap”, he said.


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