A desperate mother-of-two has pulled her own teeth out three times after failing to get a dentist appointment on the NHS.
Despite contacting every NHS dentist within 70 miles of her home, Layla Waters, 52, has been unable to secure a face-to-face appoint at any time in the past two years.
After her first infected tooth caused her pain in March 2020, she resorted to desperate measures when it grew loose and the pain became unbearable.
Layla wrapped a piece of kitchen towel around the affected tooth, then yanked it out herself.
But just two months later, she was forced to do the same again when a second tooth became infected.
She completed the dubuous hat-trick in February this year when a third infected tooth had to come out.
Layla said: “Every time I phoned to try to book an appointment, because of lockdown and the shortage of dentists, I could never get in.
“They kept sending me prescriptions for antibiotics and I must have have around ten prescriptions over the last couple of years to try to get the infections under control.
“In the end, it was so bad that I decided I had to do something.
“I used kitchen roll to grab the tooth, so it wouldn’t slip, and pulled.
“It took two or three attempts, but it came out. I couldn’t get out of bed for a couple of days – I was curled up in a ball crying.”
Just five weeks later, Layla pulled out another infected tooth and more recently, removed a third tooth six months ago.
She now only has one back molar left on the left side of her mouth and just two on the right.
Layla, of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, described the situation as ‘a nightmare from start to finish’ and says it has affected her confidence ‘massively’.
She said: “Eating is becoming a massive issue.
“It has affected my confidence massively – I don’t go out or socialise because the moment I open my mouth it’s obvious I’ve got missing teeth.
“I get through a pack of painkillers every two days. I suffer from toothache, and all of my teeth are lose now.
“I’ve called 49 dentists in total now. The best response I’ve had is that I could be put on the waiting list, but it was 18 months long.
“I’ve been going round and round in circles and keep being met by a brick wall.
“We need more NHS dentists – I just want to get my teeth sorted.”
Layla, who claims Universal Credit as she can no longer work due to Fibromyalgia, has continued to seek an NHS dentist as she cannot afford the cost of private dental care.
But according to the NHS website, there are currently no NHS dental practices in Peterborough taking on new adult patients.
It comes after an investigation by the BBC revealed that nine in 10 NHS dentists across the UK are not accepting new adult patients for treatment under the health service.
The investigation, which contacted almost 7,000 dental practices, found that in one third of the UK’s more than 200 council areas, no dentists were taking on adult NHS patients.
Layla added: “It’s just so sad in this day and age that people have to resort to this.
“I always managed to get my prescriptions when I needed it, that was never an issue.
“The problem was getting a face-to-face appointment with a dentist.
“It’s not their fault so I don’t want to bash the dentists.
“I don’t understand the politics of it and I won’t pretend I do, but whoever is in charge of making incentives to become an NHS dentist needs to take a look at it.
“There never used to be a shortage, I don’t know what’s causing the shortage, but all of a sudden there is a shortage of dentists.”