A new investigation into NHS dentistry has found a stark increase in ‘unmet need’, with patients resorting to alarming measures.
Millions of people have been unable to get an NHS dental appointment, with many resorting to ripping out their own teeth.
This comes after The Mirror conducted an investigation into the state of NHS dentistry, with a new analysis of the GP Survey.
The investigation revealed that eleven million people were unable to get an NHS dental appointment in 2022. This is a significant increase from four million in 2019.
The study has revealed a steep increase in ‘unmet need’. For example, one in four adults are either unable to get an appointment, stuck on a waiting list, or disheartened by long waits and high costs.
Other data from the investigation shows that half of dentists have cut the number of NHS patients they see. In addition, 43% plan to go fully private.
‘The NHS should have been there for me’
As a result, people have taken to DIY dentistry or taking out loans to be able to pay for the cost of treatment.
One man, Grant, told the newspaper that he used a shoelace to remove his tooth because he couldn’t get an appointment. The state of his teeth had left him depressed and he couldn’t afford private treatment.
He said: ‘I called around all the dental practices in the local area and they weren’t interested.
‘It sounds a bit mediaeval but I ended up having to tie string around them and kind of garrotted it out.’
He added: ‘The emotional effect and the stress have been awful’.
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A desperate warning
As well as this, the investigation found that ‘high needs’ patients have been turned away by dentists due to a flawed national payment contract.
Other data from the study shows that half of dentists have cut the number of NHS patients they see. In addition, 43% plan to go fully private.
Many dentists have blamed the poor state of NHS dentistry on government cuts.
Shawn Charlwood, committee chair for the British Dental Association (BDA), said: ‘This is a desperate warning from this profession.
‘Every day a broken system remains in force we lose dentists, while millions struggle to access care.’
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