NHS dental crisis: Appointment shortage leads to dangerous at-home treatments, according to orthodontist

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With a mass shortage of NHS dentist appointments, some UK residents have turned to dangerous DIY dentistry to solve their dental woes.

Research has found that people in the UK are turning to dangerous DIY dentistry in a bid to solve their dental health. New data released by Impress has revealed the UK is turning to DIY dentistry while there is a huge backlog of NHS appointments.

By analysing a range of online dentistry related queries and questions, researchers from Impress found the most popular procedures people are considering attempting at home and which oral health issues are the most prominent cause for concern.

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Some of the most popular queries for at home procedures include; ‘How to ease toothache’ which saw an increase of over 5000% in searches over the last 30 days, and searches for ‘Home remedies for toothache’ also increased by 120%. With ‘Private Insurance’ increasing by over 5000%,it’s clear those suffering from tooth pain are searching for options outside of the NHS sector, and the ‘Dentist near me’ 200% increase shows an obvious wave of need for treatment in the UK at the moment.

In response to these findings, Dr Khaled Kasem, Chief Orthodontist of invisible orthodontics chain Impress, said: “It is definitely concerning that people are not only searching for this information but also probably attempting to complete them as well.

“Removing gum abscesses at home is very dangerous and should never be attempted. People could easily make the pain and problem much worse, spreading the infection to your jaw, throat, sinuses and other areas of your body.

“Infections like this must be seen by a dentist immediately, as if left untreated they can go on to make you seriously unwell and even cause septicemia which can be deadly. This is one procedure that cannot be done at home and must be seen by a professional.”

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The orthodontist went on to add that toothache can also be a serious problem and those suffering should seek professional help if the pain is persistent.

When it comes to looking after your teeth at home, Dr Kasem said: “Tartar is a less serious problem but still should only be removed by a medical professional. However, you can try more simple steps such as tartar-control toothpaste with fluoride as well as regular flossing and stopping smoking.

“An at-home scale and polish is actually a great way to take care of your teeth. Only choose well-known, industry trusted brands for any products purchased but be aware that at-home results will differ significantly from that of a dentist or hygienist.”

What to do if you need a dentist appointment

The NHS dental crisis is leading people to perform at-home dentistry, according to an orthodontist The NHS dental crisis is leading people to perform at-home dentistry, according to an orthodontist
The NHS dental crisis is leading people to perform at-home dentistry, according to an orthodontist | AFP via Getty Images

Due to the NHS appointment shortage, more people than ever are searching for dentist appointments online. Dr Kasem added: “Please consider the severity of your appointment before calling the dentist and be very clear on what issues you are having so that the receptionist can identify the severity of your situation and be best placed to cater to you. If you are able to see a private dentist perhaps that is a good choice or, alternatively, visit your local chemist for any advice.”

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