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8 in 10 dentists seeing cases of ‘DIY’ dentistry

Testimony from Merseyside shows return of ‘Victorian’ oral health problems

The British Dental Association has warned Government it needs to produce a recovery plan for NHS dentistry worthy of the title, as a new survey shows ‘DIY’ dentistry is now rampant across the country.

A poll of 500 UK dentists shows 82% have treated patients who have taken matters into their own hands since lockdown.

The professional body has lamented the growing number of cases of life-threatening dental sepsis, with new reports from Royal Liverpool Dental Hospital of children as young as three with the condition, alongside an epidemic of DIY cases,  and even patients requiring dental treatment as a result of scurvy.Liverpool would not benefit from trailed plans from the Department of Health to pour hundreds of millions into rural practices, a move the BDA believe is wilfully ignoring the national scale of this crisis.

A recovery plan was first pledged by Government last Spring and is now expected within the week. Ministers have rejected Health and Social Care Committee recommendations to make a clean break from the discredited contract fuelling the exodus from the NHS workforce and the access crisis facing millions.

BDA Chair Eddie Crouch said:

“Day in, day out dentists in our hospitals are seeing scenes straight out of a Dickens novel.

“Ministers need to take some responsibility. A wealthy 21st Century nation is slipping back to the Victorian era on their watch.”


Online survey of 500 UK dentists, from all fields of practice, January 2024

Since lockdown have you ever treated a patient that has performed any form of DIY dentistry (this could include any form of DIY dental care, from a simple filling kit to an attempt at extraction).

Yes 82%

No 13.8%

Don’t know 4.2%

Respondents provided reports of patients using pliers to extract teeth, superglue on broken crowns, chewing gum as a basis for temporary fillings, and even constructing homemade dentures.