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Closed dental practices spark rise in DIY dentistry in Yorkshire

A Yorkshire woman says she did dentistry work on herself at home.

Pulling their own teeth out and creating makeshift fillings using putty are some of the desperate measures people at home are taking to treat toothache during lockdown.

Dentists in Yorkshire have been forced to close as the government restricts movement to combat the spread of COVID-19.

All routine dental work has been cancelled, instead only serious issues will be considered for treatment.

Before lockdown Deb Hepplestone, who's from Yorkshire, broke her tooth - leaving her nerves exposed. Two temporary fillings were fitted but both failed to do the job.

The pain proved to be unbearable so Deb took matters into her own hands by moulding putty and pushing it into the gap left in her cracked tooth.

Misshapen and still causing discomfort, she felt she had no other choice but to then haphazardly file down the filling herself.

Speaking to Sky News, she said: "I cleaned it out as best I could because I felt I had no other option, there was nowhere I could go to get a filling, then I had to actually file my own filling down with a metal file because I had a piece of jagged tooth that was digging into my tongue.

"It's just unfortunate that dental treatment isn't seen as a priority because dental pain is horrendous and I'm sure there are people in a worse state than I've been who are really suffering because they can't get seen."

A growing number of people are turning to DIY dentistry and there are concerns about safety.

The British Dental Association (BDA) said people doing dental work on themselves was "inevitable".

BDA vice-chair, Eddie Crouch said: "I've seen media coverage of people taking their own teeth out and that certainly is not advised.

"Some emergency DIY treatment with the guidance from a dentist is probably helpful, there are temporary filling kits that can be purchased at the pharmacy so they can actually put something on to sort out a broken tooth or a filling."

When it comes to the spread of the coronavirus, dentistry is particularly risky. The issue with dental treatments like fillings or scalings is they produce a cloud of mist which could contain the COVID-19 virus.

With surgeries closed, some have been forced to innovate. Many are using video and telephone consultations to safely continue to offer advice to patients. But for infections that can't wait, a network of urgent dental care practices have been opened by the NHS.

Although patients with an abscess or infection will be prescribed antibiotics or painkillers, if their condition worsens, they are being urged to call 111 and where necessary they will be directed to one of the NHS urgent centres.

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