Bury St Edmunds woman extracts 11 of her own teeth due to local dentist shortages

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A woman from Bury St Edmunds has extracted eleven of her own teeth after being unable to get an appointment with a local NHS dentist.

Danielle Watts has been searching for a dental practice for the last six years after the surgery she attended closed. Danielle said that she has called every practice in the area repeatedly but there have never been places available.

For the first couple of years, Danielle was able to cope, as her oral health was fine but in the last two years, she has really struggled.

Danielle has tried calling NHS 111 for advice and contacting local dental services but every time she has been told that she isn’t eligible for emergency treatment. Her gums have receded and her teeth became loose.

In total, Danielle has now removed eleven of her teeth because she couldn’t get an appointment to see a dentist. Suffolk is one of the worst affected areas in terms of dental access issues and more and more people are struggling to get the treatment they need.

Danielle’s frustrations are shared by local dentist, Dr Meetal Patel, from Aylsham Dental Practice in Norfolk. Dr Patel said that routine services are not available to patients because teams are currently extremely busy treating patients with urgent dental needs.

The demand for treatment is far greater than the supply, and practices that provide NHS care are finding it increasingly difficult to stay afloat, with many taking on more private patients.

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