Dentists warn ‘desperate’ people will try ‘DIY dentistry’ if the government doesn’t give access to emergency treatment

Ministers must act rapidly to provide urgent care systems for the dental sector and avoid a spike in “DIY” procedures, an industry body has said.

The British Dental Association (BDA), a trade union for dentists, called on the government to provide access for patients who need treatment during the Covid-19 lockdown. Mick Armstrong, BDA chairman, said that the continued closure of surgeries across the country could result in people taking “matters into their own hands.”

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“Many dentists are taking calls from people in agony, but have nowhere to send them,” said Mr Armstrong.

“Whenever access problems emerge people with toothache take matters into their own hands. It’s inevitable many desperate patients will resort to ‘DIY dentistry’ unless we see rapid action from government.”

Mr Armstrong also said that personal protection equipment for NHS workers on the frontline remains “thin on the ground”.

He added: “Officials must stop dragging their heels. A promised urgent care system still isn’t up an running, PPE remains thin on the ground, and there is nothing resembling information for the public.”

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The intervention came after one dentist claimed that he had been told by a peer that a parent called asking how to remove their son’s tooth.

Dr Luke Thorley, owner of Royal Wharf Dental in south-east London, told the Mirror: “The worst story I’ve heard is from a dentist who was called by a dad asking how to take his son’s tooth out. The tooth was broken and discoloured.

“He wanted him to talk him through removing the tooth at home with a pair of pliers.”

Dr Thorley, 33, also said dentists are desperate to reopen their practices and help patients.

Earlier this week, the BDA said that many practices are “at risk of imminent collapse” without urgent support from the government.

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All poll of BDA members found that 72 per cent of practices said they could only remain financially stable for three months or less.

Dental surgeries that provide NHS care receive support from the government but many rely upon private work to remain financially viable.

The Independent has approached the Department for Health and Social Care for comment.
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