Grab The Meic: Dental Problems
This week’s young person is having a nightmare trying to get a referral to see an orthodontist. Here’s her experience and our advice in Grab the Meic.
Grab the Meic is your opportunity to ask us about anything that’s worrying you. We’re here to listen and give advice. If you want to #grabthemeic then check out this page, but remember this advice is not instant. If you need advice quickly then please contact the helpline.
This article is also available in Welsh – I ddarllen y cynnwys yma yn Gymraeg – clicia yma.
I am writing to you because of my experience with the NHS. I was meant to get a referral through the post, but 7 months on and I still haven’t had a reply. I went to the orthodontist and they said they’d rejected my referral as I had plaque on my back teeth. I think this is awful, and my parents are looking into me going private, but this isn’t possible, as they can’t afford it. It’s an extra strain, as I’ve just had to move schools too. I need help and want to know what I can do.
Delyth (*name changed to protect their identity)
I’m sorry to hear to hear about what seems to have been a negative experience with the NHS, and more specifically the orthodontist. It must be frustrating to have been waiting so long for your referral, only find out that you can’t receive the treatment because of plaque.
Waiting times can be long on the NHS, however your dental care, including trips to see the Orthodontist should be free when you need it on the NHS if you are under 18. This is the policy of the NHS and is also your right as a young person. Children under 18 have a number of rights, including the right to access healthcare, so it isn’t ok that you don’t feel that you can do this at the moment.
If you’re unhappy with the service you have received from the NHS, we could support you through the complaints process. If you wanted to make a complaint, it would be better to come through to the Meic helpline (details below) and we can help you through the complaints process.
It might also be the case that your dentist can help with the issues around management of the plaque, so that you’re in a position to return to the orthodontist to receive treatment.
Help to get your voice heard
It sounds like there is a lot going on for you at the moment with the dental issues but also lots of change around moving schools. You said you needed help and there may be a number of ways that we can support you on the helpline. To do this, we might need to know a few more details about your situation and what you want to achieve first. The Meic helpline provides information, advice and something called advocacy. Advocacy is when a young person doesn’t feel that their voice is being listened to. An advocate can help that young person to get heard by being their voice for them, or by helping them to work out what they might want to say and making sure they’re informed about their options /choices.
The best way to talk to us further so that we can make sure we’re giving you advice on the outcomes you’re hoping for would be to contact the helpline. We are here everyday from 8am until midnight and even if you are a little unsure about coming through by phone, you can always get in touch using our text (84001) or instant message service instead.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
The Meic Team.
If you need to talk to someone about anything that’s bothering you, then call Meic to talk to a friendly advisor.
Meic is an information and advocacy helpline for children and young people aged 0-25 in Wales. We are open 8am to midnight, 7 days a week. You can contact us free on the phone (080880 23456), text message (84001) or online chat.