A woman, who was turned away from 49 NHS dentists has told of how she resorted to pulling three of her own teeth out.
Layla Waters, 52, contacted every NHS dentist within 70 miles of her home after one of her back teeth became infected just before the first lockdown, in March 2020.
After she was unable to be seen by an NHS dentist, Layla, from Whittlesey, Peterborough, decided to take matters into her own hands and remove the tooth herself.
‘I was curled up in a ball crying’
"Every time I phoned to try to book an appointment, because of lockdown and the shortage of dentists, I could never get in,” Layla said.
"They kept sending me prescriptions for anti-biotics and I must have had around ten prescriptions over the last couple of years to try to get the infections under control.
“In the end, it was so bad that I decided I had to do something. I used kitchen roll to grab the tooth, so it wouldn’t slip, and pulled. It took two or three attempts, but it came out.
“I couldn’t get out of bed for a couple of days – I was curled up in a ball crying."
Five weeks later, Layla pulled a second infected tooth out – before, more recently, removing a third herself six months ago.
She now only has one back molar left on the left side of her mouth and just two on the right.
Layla claims Universal Credit because of a health condition and she has continued to try to get into an NHS dentist because she cannot afford the cost of private dental care.
‘I just want to get my teeth sorted’
The Peterborough Telegraph reported earlier this week that there are currently no NHS dental practices in Peterborough taking on new adult patients, according to the NHS website.
It comes after an investigation by the BBC revealed that nine in 10 NHS dentists across the UK are not accepting new adult patients for treatment under the health service.
The investigation, which contacted almost 7,000 dental practices, found that in one third of the UK's more than 200 council areas, no dentists were taking on adult NHS patients.
"It’s been a nightmare from start to finish,” Layla said.
"Eating is becoming a massive issue. It has affected my confidence massively – I don’t go out or socialise because the moment I open my mouth it’s obvious I’ve got missing teeth.
"I get through a pack of painkillers every two days. I suffer from toothache, and all of my teeth are lose now.
“I’ve called 49 dentists in total now. The best response I’ve had is that I could be put on the waiting list, but it was 18 months long.
"I’ve been going round and round in circles and keep being met by a brick wall.
“We need more NHS dentists – I just want to get my teeth sorted.”