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The rise of DIY dentistry It is no news that NHS dentistry has reached crisis point. Despite the Government’s efforts to tackle restricted access by implementing reforms, patients continue to be let down. The shortage of dental appointments has led …
The rise of DIY dentistry
It is no news that NHS dentistry has reached crisis point. Despite the Government’s efforts to tackle restricted access by implementing reforms, patients continue to be let down. The shortage of dental appointments has led to a rise in UK residents taking matters into their own hands and resorting to at home dental treatments to remedy their dental woes.
In late 2022, research conducted on behalf of the Liberal Democrats revealed that one in five people who have been unable to see a dentist, resorted to DIY dentistry. Launched this March, the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Programme’s Oral Health Index, unveiled that more than a third of respondents between 16-24 years old would turn to at home treatments.
Methods of DIY dentistry
Another recent study from Impress, one of the largest chains of orthodontic clinics in Europe, analysed a sample of online searches related to dentistry queries. A popular issue was toothache as searches such as ‘How to ease toothache’ and ‘Home remedies for toothache’ were amongst the highest. Left untreated, toothaches can be serious as the pulp inside your tooth may become infected, leading to dental abscesses. Attempting to remove gum abscesses at home is dangerous as the infection could spread throughout your body, particularly in your sinuses, throat, and jaw.
Another common DIY fix has seen people using home dental repair kits to replace lost fillings, loose caps, crowns, and inlays. It is no surprise these more affordable alternatives are becoming increasingly attractive, particularly considering the current state of the economic climate. However, relying on these methods permanently could result in more problems than initially faced with. These kits run the risk of sealing decay inside the tooth, which may develop into an infection, later requiring more invasive treatments to save it, such as root canal treatment.
In more extreme cases, people have resorted to extracting their own teeth with pliers. As a form of oral surgery, this procedure requires proper anaesthetic and specialist training. Using pliers is dangerous and may crush your teeth in the process, proving far more costly and time-consuming to repair. There is a chance you could damage surrounding teeth or even fracture your jawbone. The alveolar nerve runs across the lower jaw and damage to it can lead to pain and permanent numbness.
Tackling DIY dentistry
We encourage everyone to raise awareness of the risks associated with at home dental treatments, to prevent causing further damage, sometimes leading to long-term complications. If you require emergency dental treatment, please contact your local practice or, otherwise, seek guidance from NHS 111. If you have suffered from any delay or failure to treat your teeth, please contact our specialist dental negligence team today and see if you are eligible to bring a claim.