The last dentist was in 1992

The last dentist was in 1992

– I can’t laugh at customers. I can’t look them in the eye. It won’t work.

Leslie Medhurst (46) sits in the dentist’s chair.

Life can return to this chair.

– I worked in a hardware store. I lost my job. It means everything to me.

Free dentist for Leslie

He couldn’t believe he was sitting in a dentist’s waiting room.

The last time it happened was in 1992.

Over thirty years.

Free dentist for Leslie

– It started with a bad experience at the dentist. She was very strict, he says.

He developed a fear of dentists.

And eventually the economy is absorbed.

Free dentist for Leslie

The food on the plate turned bland, the road to the dentist long.

And fewer teeth.

– I ate a lot of ice cream, says Leslie.

– Heartbreaking to watch

– It’s heartbreaking, says Igor Salai in Pal Norway.

– Someone has a daily life like Leslie and can’t afford the treatment they need.

The office observes patient absenteeism.

– Even more people say they can’t afford it. Some postpone necessary treatment, while others opt for cheaper solutions over professional ones, says Salai.

In Kristiansand the dental chain has partnered with Help Us Help.

Offer help: – There is a truth that was darker than we knew, says Igor Salai in Pal Norway. He asks the politicians to realize the seriousness of this.

Photo: EIRIK DAMSGAARD ​​/ NRK

As a mini private/volunteer-run dental health service – in the midst of Norway’s welfare state – those most in need are referred from the system.

Dentists stand up and pick up bills the public doesn’t want to see.

According to the chain, the infrastructure is set up for services worth NOK 2 million from offices in Kristiansand, Grimstad and Sandnes.

– Children go first

According to the cast of Frivillighets-Norge, who spoke to NRK, due to the price increase, even more people have trouble paying for the dentist.

Help us help

Note:- One lady smelled so bad from her mouth that we could not sit near her. Two have been diagnosed with dental diseases. I hope this initiative will spread to Norway. But the public sector needs to take responsibility, believes Elizabeth Thorsen in Hever.

Photo: EIRIK DAMSGAARD ​​/ NRK

Elizabeth Thorson observes this in Help O’s Hour in Kristiansand.

– In recent years, we see more people who are sad. They can’t smile, they have problems with their teeth. Smelly. And they say they can’t afford a dentist themselves.

Thorson believes that has increased since the pandemic.

– Some have children, prioritize helping them, and put their own health last. It quickly becomes more intense with teeth. Destroys self-confidence. Also getting a job will be difficult.

Help us help

Paving the way: On a stormy Monday in March, 129 people turned up and asked us to help them help out in Kristiansand. Many of them put dentists a little lower on the list.

Photo: EIRIK DAMSGAARD ​​/ NRK

– Those who don’t

– In these times, there are more people than ever who have great problems paying for absolutely necessary health services, says Doc Nordbe, general manager of the Church’s mission in Kristiansand.

People at work are struggling and we are in a completely new situation, he says.

– The differences are more obvious than before. Between the haves and the have-nots, he believes.

Day Nordbø

Going slow: – I think the politicians have discovered the problem, but the solutions are taking too long, says Doc Nordboe at the Church’s Bimission.

Photo: Sander Heckheim / NRK

The Salvation Army claims to pay dentists for individuals in some cases.

– Now we see that some people throw away many things that are necessary for housing, food, electricity etc. Dental health is one of the things that ends up low on the list, says Björn Andersen at the Salvation Army in Kristiansand.

For testing only

The Norwegian Dental Association believes that people visit the dentist as often as before.

– but we hear that in some patients it stops after the test. President Hemming Olson-Berkem says they don’t seek treatment advice

He believes that someone offering free help is admirable.

President, Norwegian Dental Association

– Bankruptcy: – Free initiative is a declaration of bankruptcy of the organization, says Hemming Olsen-Berkem of the Dental Association.

Photo: KRISTIN AKSNES / Tannlegeforeningens Tidende

– It is positive. But it was a bankruptcy notice. This shows that we need to do something about the computer. That’s constantly being pointed out to politicians, says Olson-Berkem.

Erik Ösland Salvesen, manager and dentist at Oris Dental, the country’s largest dental chain, believes patients still prioritize their own health, including their teeth.

– We don’t notice people postponing or dropping lessons more than usual. But the current system has room for improvement.

– Do we adequately care for those who arrive in the worst condition?

– No, we don’t have enough good support programs for them, says Ausland Salvesen.

Free dentist

Recovery: Jannicke Tonsland and Lesley Medhurst are among the first to receive dental treatment. – As a single mother and on disability benefits, I couldn’t go to the dentist, says Donsland.

Photo: EIRIK DAMSGAARD ​​/ NRK

Order under the microscope

Should the public take more responsibility for your teeth?

The dental hygiene team is currently working on the question.

The group will respond next year and is now examining how we use dental health services.

– The Dental Health Act prioritizes several disease groups, but not the financial situation. That will be one of the group’s challenges, says chairwoman Evie-Anne Evenson.

Evie-Anne Evenson

Task: Evy-Anni Evensen and the dental hygiene team must respond by June 2024.

Photo: Anne Locknwick

Based on the Act on Dental Health Services from the 1980s, the Public Dental Health Service today provides free assistance to priority groups.

This includes children and young people under the age of 18, people with mental disabilities, people in municipal housing services and institutional services – and others the county council decides to prioritize.

Additionally, discounts are offered to dentists aged 19-26.

Free dentist

Happiness: – I hope my story can help others in the same situation, says Leslie Medhurst, who dares to believe that despite the fear of dentists and poor finances, life can be changed.

Photo: EIRIK DAMSGAARD ​​/ NRK

Family photos

Behind the bright blinds at the dentist’s office in Kristiansand, dentist Tina Sandbo explains what Leslie Medhurst needs.

It is not small.

In the upper jaw, most of what remains must be removed.

– We need to make new teeth. You get a smiley face, she says

The person in the chair explains that everyday life is a struggle to cover the teeth.

– I try to make eye contact with people. But their vision falls. Against my teeth.

The dream there begins to take shape.

– Imagine if one day I could smile again. I don’t have to hide in family photos.

Hello!

I wrote this case. I would love to hear from you if you have input on this or anything else.

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Joshi Akinjide

Joshi Akinjide

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