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Dental Pains: A Family Story

My son Adrian is 36. He has a fantastic sense of humour and loves getting out and about. Adrian also has autism and a severe learning disability and until very recently he lived happily in his own house with 24/7 support. 

This all changed when Adrian's wisdom tooth was taken out. From that day, he would always complain of tooth pain and ask to go to the dentist. His behaviour deteriorated and he was no longer the happy, contented man I knew. 

The battle to get Adrian dental treatment took three years. Repeatedly, I was told by professionals there were no problems with Adrian's teeth and his complaints of pain were merely 'behavioural'. Support staff didn't believe Adrian's change in behaviour was pain related. They shouted at him, or sent him to bed for being 'naughty', which just made things so much worse.

Last year, a neurologist diagnosed Adrian with nerve pain and prescribed a medication called Pregabalin. But ths made his anxiety even worse, gave him blurred vision and incontinence. things climaxed when Adrian's support provider withdrew without notice. With no alternatives, Adrian had to move from his six-year home into temporary accommodation, miles from his family. I take him to visit his old house just so he understands it's still his and he'll be going back soon. 

In October, Adrian finally received dental treatment. His mood and behaviour improved drmatically, but he continues to complain of occasional tooth pain. I showed Adrian's CT scans to my own dentist who suggested Adrian had a split bone in his jaw. I'm still fighting for this to be investigated further. Meanwhile, Adrian's house is nearly ready to move back into and hopefully a new support provider will be in place soon. 

Recently, I went through Adrian's staff communication book and copied down entries where Adrian complained of pain. My notes filled 28 A4 pages! If Adrian didn't have a learning disability, I'm sure he wouldn't have had to wait three years for dental treatment he needed. 

Bernadette

Adrian's Mum

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