West Bromwich patient tried to remove teeth with tweezers after failing to get an emergency appointment

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A woman from West Bromwich has told the BBC she tried to remove her teeth with tweezers after failing to get an emergency dental appointment.

Bola Muheeb, 23, started experiencing pain shortly after the first lockdown was introduced in March 2020. Over the last 18 months, she estimates that she has called NHS 111 over 200 times due to severe tooth pain. At one point, she was so desperate that she even tried to extract her teeth using tweezers.

Miss Muheeb said that her dental issues started to impact almost every element of daily life. She was in pain constantly, her hearing started to suffer due to an infection and she found it increasingly difficult to get through the working day.

In her job as a teacher working with children with additional needs, she needs to be on the ball and focused, but she couldn’t think straight and being in pain affected her mood and prevented her from sleeping.

In July 2021, Miss Muheeb was finally referred to Birmingham Dental Hospital and she had four teeth removed. While the procedure has provided much-needed relief, she is still struggling to find an NHS dentist and worries that her dental health will deteriorate in the future. Having contacted practices around the West Midlands, she has been advised that she will have to wait 12-18 months to see an NHS dentist.

Bola’s story is not an isolated tale, and studies suggest that DIY dentistry has become more commonplace since the start of the pandemic. Urgent care hubs were set up to provide emergency care during the lockdown, but practice backlogs are growing and teams are prioritising those with the most urgent needs.

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