According to the Sunday Express, almost a fifth of people in the UK have given up going to see their dentist due to the high prices and around a third of adults are no longer registered with an NHS clinic. Industry experts are worried that a surge in DIY dentistry could mean that patients are leaving themselves open to injury and they are at risk of dental problems that could easily be identified and treated during the early stages.
Cases that have sparked concern include that of a Gulf War veteran from Yorkshire who pulled out thirteen of his own teeth using pliers, after he developed severe toothache and could not find an NHS dentist to help him. Another instance involves a 46-year-old man from South London who had to undergo major surgery after glue he used to stick his dental crown back in caused the bone to rot beneath the gums. Dentists have also reported patients who have attempted home whitening using household cleaning products and some that are popping ulcers with pins.
Chief Dental Officer for NHS England, Barry Cockcroft, reminded patients that children get treatment for free under the NHS, as do about a third of the adult population, and added that the number of people visiting the dentist for a check-up has improved since May 2010. In reference to treatment prices, he said ‘For those who do pay, NHS dentistry charges are very simple. Anyone worried about charges should speak to their dentist, who can help them ensure their treatment is affordable. No one should feel any need to put themselves in danger by attempting their own dentistry.’