"Disappointed with lack of dental treatment."

About: St Austell Community Hospital

I had an emergency dental appointment at the hospital at which i was diagnosed with a dental abscess. The nhs direct website recommends the following immediate treatment: "The first and most important step in treating a dental abscess is to cut out the abscess and drain away the pus that contains the infectious bacteria.Your dentist will carry this out under local anaesthetic, which means you will be awake throughout the procedure, but the affected area will be numb so you will feel little to no pain. If the abscess is inside one of your teeth (a periapical abscess), root canal treatment will usually be recommended. This involves drilling into the affected tooth to release the pus and remove any damaged tissue from the centre (pulp). A filling will then be inserted into the space to prevent further infection. Antibiotics are not routinely prescribed to treat dental abscess because: draining the abscess is a more effective treatment and using antibiotics to treat non-serious infections makes them less effective at treating more serious infections (this is known as antibiotic resistance)." The nhs website also recommends no hot or cold food as pain will be worse. The treatment I received was pretty much the opposite: Omitting the 'first and most important step' altogether, i was prescribed antibiotics and advised to swill almost boiling water around my mouth hourly for up to two weeks in order to allow the pressure, pus (and therefore pain) to come to a head and burst into my mouth. This was accompanied by zero advice on analgesia. The reason for this remedy from the dark ages, leaving me in absolute agony, and potentially at risk of complications: a temperamental X-ray machine.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from St Austell Community Hospital

Thank you for taking the time to feed back to us. It is very important that we listen to all of our patients and where appropriate act on their concerns. Whilst each case is different, actual examples help us to improve services and give direct feedback to staff from a patients perspective and help us to improve the care we give. Often the clinical diagnosis of a dental problem is complex and the most important factor is treating the patient with compassion and providing them with the appropriate care available at that time. We are sorry that you did not feel this was your experience at the time and we will continue to listen to patients views regarding our dental services.

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