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Charity warns against DIY dentistry

To a dental health professional used to the complicated procedure of safely removing a tooth, it may seem unthinkable that people would take the matter into their own hands rather than visit the dentist. However, according to new research the practice is shockingly common.

The British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) conducted a survey of UK residents to find out their attitudes and behaviours towards their oral health. The results of this research were worrying, with a total of one in five participants admitting they would turn to DIY dentistry in a fix.

Some 20 per cent of respondents said they would attempt to remove a tooth either on their own or ask a friend to do so if they could not afford the necessary dental treatment. This may seem fair enough, but the BDHF has strongly warned against the practice.

“DIY dentistry is both dangerous and unnecessary,” said Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the BDHF. “There are too many senseless examples of people either pulling out the wrong tooth or ending up with an infection.

“It is all too easy to make the problem worse, which could result in more invasive and expensive treatment, so I urge those considering self-treatment to think again. The scandal of these results are that access and affordability of good-quality NHS dentistry has never been better.”

In total, just over half (56 per cent) of the population has visited the dentist in the last two years. However, changes to the way oral healthcare works may increase those numbers, as it becomes quicker and easier to access treatment.

New rules will make it possible to see a dental hygienist, therapist or even a nurse for certain issues, rather than a dentist. These professionals will be able to deal with certain procedures, such as fillings, or preventative programmes. This will allow patients to be seen sooner.

Hopefully, these changes will reduce the need for people to opt for DIY dentistry, exposing themselves to the risk of a serious infection rather than simply visiting their local dentist.

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