People resorting to DIY dentistry and pulling out own teeth as NHS services at ‘tipping point’

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People are resorting to “DIY dentistry” because they are unable to get an appointment with the NHS, a health official has warned.

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Some have been forced to make teeth out of resin and others have pulled out their own teeth because of the “dire” situation with NHS dentistry, national director of Healthwatch England Louise Ansari said.

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It comes as a survey by the British Dental Association (BDA) and the BBC found that the majority of NHS dental practices in the UK are unable to offer appointments to new adult patients.

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Some 8,533 dental practices across the UK that were believed to hold NHS contracts were reached out to as part of the survey.

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Across England, 91 per cent of NHS practices were not accepting new adult patients (4,933 of 5,41), rising to 97 per cent in the East Midlands, and 98 per cent in the South West, North West and Yorkshire and the Humber.

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Of those practices not taking on adults in England, 23 per cent (1,124) said they had an open waiting list, and 16 per cent (791) said the wait time was a year or longer, or were unable to say how long it would be.

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Out of 152 local authorities in England, BBC researchers did not successfully reach any practices accepting new adult NHS patients in 56 (37 per cent) local authorities.

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They also found 79 per cent of NHS practices in England were not accepting new child patients.

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In Northern Ireland, 90 per cent of NHS practices were not accepting new adult patients. For Scotland it was 82 per cent and Wales 93 per cent.

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Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday, Ms Ansari said: ““I think the research really does confirm and amplify what we’ve been saying for a couple of years and the situation is pretty dire, isn’t it?

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“So many people can’t get an NHS dentist appointment, they’re in pain, they’re anxious, some people can’t eat or speak properly.