Support our Nation today - please donate here

‘Heartbreaking rise in DIY dentistry’ in Wales as one in five struggle to find a local NHS dentist

21 Sep 2022 3 minute read
Photo Rui Vieira. PA Images

One in five (21%) people who failed to get an NHS dentist appointment in the past year have turned to DIY dentistry, a new poll commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed. 

DIY dentistry is the phrase to describe people carrying out dental work on themselves or asking somebody else who is not a dentist.  

In Wales, the poll revealed that over a fifth of people (22%) tried to get a local NHS dentist appointment in the last year but couldn’t get one. 

Amongst those who said they have tried but couldn’t get an NHS dentist appointment in their local area in the last 12 months in England and Wales, three in ten (31%) say they have stopped attempting to get an NHS dental appointment altogether as a result, while around a quarter say they have paid for private dental treatment (27%) or delayed seeing a dentist despite suffering with pain (26%). 

“It is now or never to save our NHS from a winter of crisis that will put patients at risk,” Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said. 

“This heartbreaking rise in DIY dentistry is further evidence that this Government simply doesn’t care about our vital local health services. It is a national scandal that people are forced to pull their own teeth out because our public health services have been starved of funding.  

“Years of failure and mismanagement by Welsh Labour is taking its toll. It’s no wonder there are big problems when the British Dental Association (BDA) has stated that Labour’s plans are not serving the population’s oral health needs.

“Toothcare should not just be for those who can afford to pay privately but sadly we are seeing a real divide between those who can afford to go private and those who can’t.

“Everyone should be able to rely on swift and reliable dental care close to home. The Welsh Government must recruit more staff and boost rates paid for NHS procedures.”

Dentists decrease

The findings come after Welsh Government figures show that between 2020-21, there were 1,389 dentists with NHS activity recorded in Wales. 

This is a decrease of 5.6% from 2019-20,or 83 fewer dentists. 

Across most health boards in Wales people are struggling to gain access to NHS dentistry.

In Newtown, the largest town in Powys, half of the town’s dental practices have closed over the summer, leaving just two dental practices to serve a population of around 18,000.

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
George Atkinson
George Atkinson
1 year ago

My local dentist has turned private and started trying to charge patients 20 quid a month for none use (240 per year). I can’t afford to spend that much just to be kept on a list. Dental work is a health issue and should be on the NHS with practices in hospitals and doctors surgeries. If you crack a tooth, thats a fractured bone and if it was on any other part of the body, it would be fixed by the NHS. I don’t know why it isn’t.

1 year ago

Should never have been privatised. No wonder so many are going abroad for dental requirements. The head of the BDA was on BBC a month or so back moaning about it. How about reducing your prices then maybe people wouldn’t have to go abroad! Who decided that dentists should be paid so much and thus we be charged so much?

Aregol fawr!
Aregol fawr!
1 year ago

Yet again NC run a health issue story without a response from the Welsh Gov health minister. They need to be held to account. Eluned Morgan seems to be doing very little about most things in her portfolio, and getting away with it.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.