Christina Chatfield’s Dental Health Spa in Queen’s Road, Brighton, is suffering in the coronavirus lockdown.
The practice was forced to close to prevent the spread of the virus but unlike neighbouring businesses, it does not receive any funding from the Government.
Christina said she feels let down and trapped by the terms of the financial aid the Government is offering.
She said that though she has paid higher retail rather than lower medical rates for the past 13 years, she is now suffering while other firms get retail relief from the Government.
She said: “I have invested everything in this business – my house, my pension, my car.
“With no Government help the business will be bankrupt due to lost revenue and cash flow in a couple of months.
“I will lose my home and all my employees will be without jobs.
“I realise not every business can be saved but it seems completely absurd to choose not to support an essential health service.
“You can do a DIY haircut at home but do you really want to be extracting your own teeth?”
Christina’s concerns echo those of dentists across the country.
MPs including Brighton Pavilion’s Caroline Lucas have written to the Chancellor pointing out that 70 per cent of dental practices will not survive the next three months.
Christina said: “Most private dental practices aren’t currently receiving funding from the Government during this pandemic so lots of them will go under.
“Every business nearby is being supported during the coronavirus crisis, including a vape shop, a tanning shop and a souvenir shop.
“My business is an actual health service and also a huge part of the community in Brighton.
“But I am unable to qualify for an NHS contract because I’m a hygienist and not a dentist, even though self-employed dentists work here.”
Christina said this could also have a knock-on effect, placing a further burden on the NHS.
She said: “Oral health is linked to many other health issues, the most obvious being oral cancer, but also to diabetes, dementia and cardiovascular disease.
“Therefore the current inevitable loss of dental practices will inadvertently cause extra strain on an already overstretched NHS.”
Though some dentists have been resorting to webcam consultations, many can no longer take face-to-
face appointments even for emergencies while the lockdown remains in force.
Dentists have been sharing advice on how to deal with dental problems at home. Dr Richard Marques, who graduated with distinction from Guy’s, Kings and St Thomas institute of dentistry, said it is important to understand whether or not the dental situation is emergency or not.
Issues such as a lost filling, dull toothache, mild sensitivity or a small chip in a tooth can be treated later, he said.
These problems would constitute an emergency: gums that will not stop bleeding; extreme tooth sensitivity or toothache causing constant pain; a tooth that has been knocked out or left jagged; swollen cheeks or gums and extreme pain from swelling or possible infection.
You should try calling your dentist in the first instance, as they may have set up a helpline to offer advice.
If symptoms continue, call the NHS on 111. If the situation is serious, you may need to go to A&E – but only if absolutely necessary.
A petition has been launched to help protect dental practices at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/307959.