One in four households (25%) across the UK opted for at least one form of DIY dentistry during lockdown.
This is according to a new poll carried out by the Association of Dental Groups into the full extent of do-it-yourself treatments.
Within the 25% figure, the survey suggests:
- In 12.7% of households, someone has taken painkillers for dental pain
- In 7.9% of households, someone has attempted to treat a cavity in a tooth
- And in 7.6% of households, someone has attempted to extract a tooth.
Dental practices shut their doors at the end of March, only resuming face-to-face care from the beginning of June.
Stored up problems
‘Pulling your own teeth out is rarely a good idea. It can damage the surrounding teeth and lead to long-term problems,’ said ADG chair Neil Carmichael.
‘These findings suggest that when routine appointments restart, dentists across the country should brace themselves for an oral health horror show.
‘All of the signs are that dentists will be called upon to repair the damage caused by broken and knocked out teeth. This is also on top of a host of other oral health problems that lockdown has been storing up.
‘This would be bad enough if we did not already have an access crisis in dentistry, with many people struggling to get appointments. Ministers must now take urgent action. This will ensure we have the NHS dentists we need to deal with what’s around the corner.’
Low number of dentists
As a result, the association says the findings add to mounting concerns about the profession’s ability to handle the backlog of patient care. Statistics show the UK has a low number of dentists per capita when compared to its European neighbours.
For example, figures show it stands at 54 per 100,000 people. In comparison, Italy has 77 and Germany has 82 – while Greece boasts a significant 125.
This comes as the Association of Dental Groups calls for action from Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Alongside a number of other key stakeholders, the new report recommends a handful of financial recommendations to support mixed and private practices.
For example, the extension of eligibility for financial support and expansion of eligibility to business rate relief.
Follow Dentistry.co.uk on Instagram to keep up with all the latest dental news and trends.