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People in pain forced to opt for DIY dentistry due to lack of NHS access

PEOPLE in pain are pulling out their own teeth with garage pliers and lancing abscesses with needles sterilised on the gas stove due to a lack of NHS dentistry, campaigners revealed today.

Speaking at the Westminster health forum policy conference, Toothless in England campaign co-ordinator Mark Jones highlighted a “dental disaster” — and the plight of millions who have faced a brick wall when trying to find NHS treatment.

He said: “Abscesses are being lanced with needles sterilised in the kitchen over the gas hob.

“Loose or broken teeth are being pulled out with garage pliers. Alcohol and analgesic abuse are commonplace.

“The decline seen in the oral health of children, as well as those in care and residential homes, young offender institutions, secure and sheltered housing, is in freefall.

“Oral cancers aren’t being diagnosed.”

Mr Jones said that when DIY dentistry “goes horribly wrong, other parts of an already overstretched NHS are placed under further stress and left to pick up the pieces.”

He said that the issue pre-dates the pandemic, adding: “It’s what you would expect to read in Dickensian novels, not in the 21st century.”

Mr Jones said that the oral health of the nation has plummeted as a direct consequence of a decline in NHS dental provision overseen by governments since 2006.

The campaign group is calling for better education for oral healthcare, bringing back patient registration in line with GP surgeries, ensuring that advisers at NHS dentistry commissioning panels have the NHS’s interests at heart and having newly qualified dentists spend their first five years in the NHS in return for tuition fee waivers.  

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