One in 10 people have performed DIY dentistry, poll finds

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One in 10 people have performed DIY dentistry, with poor access to dentists a major reason why, a poll has suggested.

A new YouGov survey of 2,104 people across Great Britain found 10% have performed dentistry on themselves and one in five (22%) are currently not registered with a dentist.

Of those who are unregistered, more than a third (37%) said it is because they cannot find an NHS dentist to take them on, with a further 5% on a waiting list, while another 23% said they are not registered because they do not think they can afford to be treated.

Of those who have done DIY dentistry, 56% did so within the last two years, including 36% who did so within the last year.

Some said they had pulled their own teeth while others claim to have given themselves fillings, removed or repaired crowns, filed their broken teeth down or treated their own abscesses and infections.

One in five of those who attempted a procedure did so because they could not get a timely appointment, with a further 15% saying Covid-related lockdowns prevented them from getting one, according to YouGov.

Other reasons were being unregistered, fear of going to the dentist and an inability to pay for treatment.

Overall, about one in eight of those surveyed (12%) said they currently have no confidence in their ability to afford even routine NHS dental care.

Another 11% are not very confident they can.

Some 46% of all those polled said they have seen a dentist within the last six months, rising to 70% for those who have seen one within two years.

However, a quarter (27%) have not been for two years or more, including 8% who admit it has been more than a decade since they saw a dentist.

British Dental Association chairman Eddie Crouch said: “From the patients attempting DIY dentistry, to those who’ve given up even trying to get an appointment, these numbers show a service approaching the end of the road.

“Both government and opposition need a clear plan to reform and properly fund NHS dentistry. Failing that, they may as well get started on writing its obituary.”