Overall, 41 per cent of Britons said they would be willing to do DIY dentistry if they needed dental treatment but were unable to due to a lack of NHS appointments.  The rates were higher among younger Britons (48 per cent) compared to 28 per cent of the elderly.

One in four elderly Britons fear they will have to resort to do-it-yourself dentistry

More than a quarter of senior Brits fear they may have to reach for pliers and do DIY dentistry due to a lack of NHS appointments.

From pulling their teeth out with household tools to forming homemade false teeth using super glue and resin, a growing number seem to be taking their dental health into their own hands.

This trend is due, at least in part, to a shortage of NHS dentists, which has turned some parts of the country into dental deserts and left Brits faced with a choice between paying privately, going without or resorting to do-it-yourself dentistry.

A survey has now shown that one in four over 65s will have their own dental work done, including tooth extractions. The country’s chief dentist said this was due to the “broken” sector and “lack of funding”.

Overall, 41 per cent of Britons said they would be willing to do DIY dentistry if they needed dental treatment but were unable to due to a lack of NHS appointments. The rates were higher among younger Britons (48 per cent) compared to 28 per cent of the elderly.

London recorded the lowest proportion of adults visiting an NHS dentist in two years.  The North East and Yorkshire had the highest rate, at 41.8 per cent

London recorded the lowest proportion of adults visiting an NHS dentist in two years. The North East and Yorkshire had the highest rate, at 41.8 per cent

There are increasing reports of Britons turning to DIY dentistry as they struggle to see NHS dentists and can't afford to pay private fees.

There are increasing reports of Britons turning to DIY dentistry as they struggle to see NHS dentists and can’t afford to pay private fees.

Over a two-year period, the number of adults visiting a dentist in England has fallen sharply from pre-pandemic levels.  Only a third of them have done so, according to the latest NHS data

Over a two-year period, the number of adults visiting a dentist in England has fallen sharply from pre-pandemic levels. Only a third of them have done so, according to the latest NHS data

Millions of people have been left without access to dental care after the number of dentists on the NHS fell to an all-time low last year.

Millions of people have been left without access to dental care after the number of dentists on the NHS fell to an all-time low last year.

How much does NHS dentistry cost?

There are 3 NHS charge bands:

Band 1: £23.80

Covers examination, diagnosis and advice. If needed, it also includes X-rays, scale and polishing, and planning for further treatment.

Band 2: £65.20

Covers all treatments included in Band 1, plus additional treatments such as fillings, root canal treatment and tooth extraction (extraction).

Band 3: £282.80

It covers all treatments included in Bands 1 and 2, as well as more complex procedures, such as crowns, dentures, and bridges.

For comparison, check-ups can cost between £20 and £120 at private dentists, according to Which?.

The consumer watchdog says dentures and bridges can also cost up to £2,520.

Overall, 41 per cent of Britons said they would be willing to do a DIY dentistry if they needed dental treatment but were unable to due to a lack of NHS appointments.

Rates were higher among young adults, with 48 percent of people ages 18 to 34 ready to do the treatment themselves.

That was followed by 46 percent of people ages 35 to 54, according to the poll of just over 2,000 people, commissioned by the Liberal Democrats.

Senior Britons, aged 65 or over, were least likely to take matters into their own hands (28 per cent).

Across all groups, seven out of 10 participants feared being forced to go to the private sector for dental treatment.

And parents with children under the age of 18 said they were “likely” to turn to DIY dentistry if they needed medical attention.

NHS dentistry has been in crisis for many years, but the situation has deteriorated since the nation emerged from the pandemic.

Thousands of NHS dentists have quit during Covid and polls suggest more are considering going fully private.

Dentists argue that it is no longer financially viable to offer NHS procedures due to a lack of government investment over the years.

The British Dental Association (BDA) says more than 47 million NHS dental appointments have been missed in England alone since lockdown in 2020.

Commenting on the survey, BDA President Eddie Crouch said: The telegraphDo-it-yourself dentistry has no place in a wealthy 21st-century country. Unfortunately, the choices made at Westminster have not left millions without options.

“Disappointed dentists walk away from a broken, underfunded system.”

Crouch said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pledge to restore NHS dental services, made during the Conservative Party leadership race earlier this year, had not materialised.

He added, “This slogan will ring hollow as long as the desperate find themselves being held by pincers.”

Liberal Democrat spokeswoman Daisy Cooper claimed the poll results were a “national scandal”.

While the number of children in England who see a dentist has recovered slightly from the Covid pandemic, less than half of them visit dentists at least once a year.

While the number of children seeing a dentist in England has recovered slightly from the Covid pandemic, less than half visit dentists at least once a year.

Some areas in England are much worse than others for access to NHS dentistry.  It is poorest in the North West, South West, Yorkshire and the Humber, where 98 per cent of practices win admissions of new patients.  This was followed by the East Midlands with 97 per cent, the South East with 95 per cent, the East of England with 93 per cent and the East Midlands with 84 per cent.  London was the best performer for dental care in the NHS, but even in the country's capital, more than three-quarters (76 per cent) of clinics were not accepting new patients.

Some areas in England are much worse than others for access to NHS dentistry. It is poorest in the North West, South West, Yorkshire and the Humber, where 98 per cent of practices win admissions of new patients. This was followed by the East Midlands with 97 per cent, the South East with 95 per cent, the East of England with 93 per cent and the East Midlands with 84 per cent. London was the best performer for dental care in the NHS, but even in the country’s capital, more than three-quarters (76 per cent) of clinics were not accepting new patients.

“NHS dentistry now appears to be extinct in many parts of the country,” she said.

“Hard working people pay their fair share to fund our dear NHS, yet the government has failed to deliver.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said the government wanted to ensure all people seeking NHS dental care could receive it when they needed it and had recently implemented dental reforms to help achieve this.

It comes after a survey in September indicated that a quarter of Britons were unable to secure an NHS dental appointment, with the worst rates in London.

Of the total unable to get an appointment, a fifth has resorted to DIY dentistry.

Almost one in three have given up on seeking NHS dental care altogether.

The latest NHS data reveals that two-thirds of people in England have not seen a dentist in two years.

Only 16 million people underwent a medical examination between June 2020 – in the early days of the pandemic – and June 2022. The figure is five million fewer than expected.

Less than half of English children had a check-up in the year to June 2022, despite being under the age of 18 and entitled to free dental care.

Adults must pay at least £23.80 for a basic check.

The data also shows the NHS now has its smallest dental workforce in a decade, with 3,000 dentists having walked away from NHS work entirely since March 2020, with 2,000 patients each.

And more could jump in with the BDA surveying 2,200 high street dentists in England earlier this year to find a third plan to become fully private within the next year.

Some Britons have reported contacting up to 40 practices to find an NHS dentist in their area who are taking new patients.

This situation has led patient organizations such as Healthwatch England to warn that DIY dentistry is becoming more popular with some people pulling their teeth out with pliers and then making replacements out of resin and super glue.

Other Brits have chosen to go abroad for dental treatment as they seek to pay much cheaper rates than private dentistry in the UK.

In other dental news…

A bad filler about this: Vaping causes teeth to rot and makes the mouth more bacteria-friendly

The TikTok health trend you must be doing! Dentists say tongue scraping prevents gum disease, cavities, and bad breath

Transport for London faces backlash for ‘Turkey Teeth’ advertising: dentists attack ‘predatory’ marketing on tubes and buses

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