Still no end in sight after years of pain

Robyn Allen has been in chronic pain for eight years and is still waiting to get a set of dentures. Picture: DAVID THORPE
Robyn Allen has been in chronic pain for eight years and is still waiting to get a set of dentures. Picture: DAVID THORPE

A TALLANGATTA Valley woman who has endured years of chronic tooth pain is angry at ongoing problems to get a set of dentures.

Robyn Allen has been on a public waiting list since 2004 and last week thought the wait was almost over.

But Ms Allen continues to grow frustrated after what she said was a dispiriting visit — marred by communications problems — to the Albury Wodonga Health Dental Clinic in Wodonga.

She got angry towards staff at the clinic and was told that if her anger was repeated police would be called as “disrespectful behaviour will not be tolerated”.

Suffering abscesses that would not heal, Ms Allen went to visit her surgeon at the Royal Melbourne Dental Hospital on October 29.

“When the chap looked in my mouth he just straight away said ‘yep, you need a full clearance, you need all your teeth removed’,” she said.

She returned to the clinic two days later thinking it was for an appointment where an impression would be made of her gums for the dentures but that did not happen.

Instead she was given a voucher to have the impression done at a private dental clinic.

Clinic practice manager Kerryn Beer said dentures were either made at the clinic’s laboratory or people were given a voucher to have the dentures made by an external provider.

As the in-house technician did not have time to see Ms Allen, she was given an appointment to see a dentist to be issued with a voucher, Ms Beer said.

“This was not Robyn’s expectation and I believe there may have been some confusion regarding how that was communicated by administration support staff.”

Ms Beer said Ms Allen had “frequently behaved aggressively” towards the clinic’s staff.

“This can inevitably have a negative impact on the way people communicate,” she said.

Ms Allen acknowledged she behaved inappropriately and got angry and aggressive in her language at her last clinic appointment, something she regretted.

She said her confusion about her waiting list status worsened during another recent check with the clinic when she was told her records indicated her case was “completed” and that she had received her dentures.

Ms Beer has not been able to determine why that happened.

She confirmed Ms Allen was placed on the denture waiting list on October 13, 2004, and the records showed her case completed despite no documentation the dentures were made.