Despite regular brushing, ten of Madina Faqirzai’s teeth are lined with dark spots of decay, causing her to cry in pain.
But her father Haseebullah has consistently failed to register Madina or her sister Yusara, nine, with a dentist. Both have never had dental treatment.
“I was registered about 15 years ago while living in Sheffield.” said Haseebullah, who lives in Wakefield now. “But when I moved and tried to register here, I couldn’t get anything.”
“I visited about six of them near downtown Wakefield. The places I couldn’t get to, like Normanton or Pontefract, I called on Google and they all said we couldn’t get a registration.”
He said a dentist told him they already had a five-year waiting list.
Mr Faqirzai said he had been forced to search for places as far away as Dewsbury and Barnsley but had been unsuccessful.
The family’s case was raised by their MP Simon Lightwood at this week’s Prime Minister’s Questions.
He asked Rishi Sunak what he would do in light of the “national dental emergency”. Mr Sunak said he would write to Mr Lightwood about the Faqirzais case.
“I do not think so [the government is helping enough]said Mr. Faqirzai.
“I paid money for health and I don’t get treatment. I’m sad, I worry about it, I feel like I can’t do other things [to help].
“I feel pretty hopeless,” he said.
He said he wanted to see the problem resolved so that other children would be spared similar problems.
“I hope that the whole community will be registered and I hope that every child can have a dentist and not have a problem like my daughter has,” he said.
Local dentist Nadia Alani said her practice is now open on Saturdays and has increased its hours to ease the pressure.
She said: “The problem has existed for longer than we realize. I think there was a gap between dentists leaving the profession and the number of new graduates. Now we find that gap is bigger than ever.”
The Health Ministry said another 500 dentists had registered in the past year.
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