‘I get false teeth with network instructions’: the crisis in the United Kingdom

Once a week, Carolyn Young, a middle-aged woman from Blackpool, a town in the north of England, gets her false teeth done on her own, following instructions on social media.

By molding small balls of polymorphous plastic that melt when submerged in hot water, “I make my own false teeth,” he tells the BBC.

“I wrap them around the gum, snap them in place, and hope they fit and[my mouth]looks better than it would if I didn’t have anything.”

“There are times when I try to put on (dentures) and it doesn’t work. I sit there crying and I can’t get out. I can’t leave the house with something that doesn’t feel great. It’s demoralizing,” she says.

In the past, a dentist in the UK Public Health Service (known by its acronym, the NHS) repaired diseased teeth with crowns that eventually fell out.

But when her dentist stopped seeing public service patients four years ago, Young could no longer find anyone (besides the private sector) and was forced to solve her own dental problems that were affecting her health. are dangerous for. And it could be more than that. Damage to your teeth and gums.

Ian Simpson, a man from the same town, is also having difficulty finding a dentist.

Frustrated after years of searching with no results, he tells the BBC that he plans to travel to Turkey or Italy for treatment.

Now “I don’t smile as much as I used to. It breaks my heart. I tried and tried.

no new patients

The cases of Young and Simpson are not unique. They reflect the deep crisis the NHS dental service is going through and which has worsened in recent years.

According to a BBC investigation, which collected information from around 7,000 NHS dental clinics, nine in ten dental offices in the UK are not accepting new adult patients and eight in ten are not accepting children.

The survey showed that not only was routine dental care difficult to access early in many places, but most centers also did not have waiting lists.

Among them, wait times were a year or more, or they could not estimate how long people would have to wait for care.

Although the treatment offered by the NHS is not free for most people, it is subsidized.

Many people contacted by the BBC, who cannot afford a private dentist, reported that these subsidies are important for treating their dental health problems.

long standing problem

Access to NHS dentists has been a problem since the creation of the health service, according to BBC health correspondent Nick Trigger.

Free treatment ended in 1951, three years after the creation of the NHS, as it was deemed ineffective.

Since then, there is a subsidy system where patients pay some of the cost.

At the same time, a private dental market was developed on which, an estimated one in seven adults, depends.

And this, Trigger explains, makes it possible for dentists to choose how much they do or do not work for the NHS.

In England and Wales the current NHS contract (since 2006) is unpopular with dentists, who do not feel rewarded for their work.

On the other hand, austerity also slashed the budget and then came the pandemic, which generated a backlog of patients with poor oral health.

Trigger notes, this combination of factors has led to more dentists retiring: the number of dentists working for the NHS has declined by 10% last year.

conflicting view

The Dentists’ Union blames the current NHS contract for a lack of accessible dental care.

“There seems to be no commitment from the Treasury to really invest in[dentistry],” said Eddie Crouch, president of the British Dental Association.

“Patients are having their teeth pulled because it’s a cheaper option than saving them. The whole system is set up to create health inequalities, and that needs to change significantly.”

“Many of my colleagues do not see enough emphasis on improving the situation in the short term,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health said it had made available an additional $60.5 million “to help tackle the Covid delay” and that improving access to the NHS was a priority.

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bbc-news-src: Date of Import: 2022-08-09 08:30:05

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