'He couldn't afford something he needed so desperately' - New Zealanders share stories of dental problems

People have shared their dental stories of self extraction, living with pain and the reason behind the high cost of dental care in New Zealand. 

A leading researcher says dental care is being treated like a luxury. Source: 1 NEWS

It comes after calls for more accessible dental care as the number of children requiring hospital care for preventable illnesses increases. 

On 1 NEWS' Facebook page, one commenter wrote:"I've got half a wisdom tooth left, quarter fell out, quarter I've snapped off so my tongue doesn't get so sore scraping it on the jagged edges."

"Three lots of antibiotics because it keeps getting infected, can't afford dentist, can't go on public waiting list - have no choice but to leave it like that."

Caleb Ward wrote: "That's why I have four missing teeth. Each time I had a broken tooth or was in need of a root canal I simply couldn't afford anything more than an extraction."

Kelly Blomfield said: "I paid $1,500 for a root canal and was then told it would need a crown within two years, at a cost of another $1,800. $2,300 to save one tooth - which proceeded to start falling apart within six months and still has nerve pain. Not only a huge expense but a waste of hard earned money too."

Reriana Rewha-Gardner commented: "My husband (again) pulled EIGHT of his uncle's teeth out about two months ago using a pair of PLIERS and a roll of latex for grip, as he couldn't afford dental care."

"I felt so aroha for him that he couldn't afford something he needed so desperately. He is the most heartiest man I have ever met in my life."

Claire Bissex said: "I'm now in debt of $10,000 for emergency dental treatment and $8,000 for my daughter's braces. It will take me years to pay off."

Rachel Smith said: "I have a wisdom tooth that needs pulling but I have to be asleep cause of the nerve. Got quoted $1700 and they operate on a cash basis. No dentist at our hospital. And it's just flared up again for the 10th time. I don't qualify for acc either. It's not just the minimum wage people who can't afford it we are middle to high income and we can't. We have bills like everyone else and kids. Should be cheap as chips no matter what income your on or who you are."

Napat Sombunya spoke about the pricing in New Zealand saying: "I am a dentist from Thailand and now in New Zealand practicing. There are reasons why it's so expensive here compared to Thailand...The material is literally 10 times cheaper so is staff fees and everything else. In other countries dentistry is subsided by the government. 

"The sad thing is the more people go to overseas for treatments the more we get charged by the suppliers because of demands and supplies. In turn the cost of dentistry keeps rising. It becomes a vicious circle.

"Every day I hear that dentistry here is a rip off. Every single day... If the government can subsidise the fees it would be a lot cheaper. I do hope that one day it will be for everyone's benefits."