How can people mutilate their mouths in this way? | Emma Kay

Has dentistry become a tad Dickensian of late? It’s not uncommon to see a joker-like smile dominating the headlines as people turn to self-extraction to get rid of a decaying tooth.

By Emma Kay
Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 7:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th April 2022, 7:40 pm
DIY dentistry -  would you treat your teeth like this? Picture: Adobe Stock
DIY dentistry - would you treat your teeth like this? Picture: Adobe Stock

Do-it-yourself dentistry is on the pull. Brexit, Covid-19, ever-changing contracts and overall limited capacity has sent dentistry spiralling into decay.

The very thought of people doing this sends a shiver down my spine. How horrifyingly dire must it be when you have no choice but to twist and shout and spit your tooth out of your mouth.

According to The Oral Health Foundation, 25 per cent of desperate people have opted for some form of DIY dentistry during lockdown. How can people mutilate their mouths in this way?

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In our modern society, people should not be reaching for the pliers to solve a very fixable problem.

Sadly, the lack of access to NHS dentistry has intensified.

This is not in some isolated pocket of Portsmouth either. People in every corner of England are struggling to get affordable dental treatment when they really need it.

It is estimated that 35 million dental appointments were missed because of the pandemic and only 35 per cent of adults were seen by an NHS dentist this year alone.

The number of NHS dentists working in the UK is depressingly low, leaving half the population unfunded and struggling to get NHS treatment.

It’s not only tooth decay and gum disease that go untreated. Oral cancers are being missed. Two sets of dentures will easily set you back £2,000.

Some people are trying to start Go Fund Me pages on social media to get vital treatment. It feels eerily similar to how many Americans desperately try to fund their own healthcare without the backbone of a lifesaving NHS.

And who are we to judge those funding themselves this way?

Tooth pain is horribly debilitating. Eating and sleeping is impossible. Trying to function normally when your mouth is raging with pain is unbearable.

Then add the trauma and distress of having to extract your own tooth.

My partner only had the choice of private care as no NHS treatment was available. It was expensive, but they were exceedingly lucky to be able get it. Others are not so fortunate.

Despite the abundance of NHS dental vacancies, positions remain unfilled and unattractive to EU professionals. Brexit, specifically in relation to freedom of movement has resulted in reduced numbers of European practitioners choosing the UK for employment.

The Brexit barrier of working entitlements and VISA arrangements puts people off. Even if this could be overcome, the rewards for entering the public side of the profession are significantly less than that of private dentistry.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


A vegan future awaits us and will more than likely start with fast food outlets.

Leicester Square Burger King has been offering only vegan food for a month to test the popularity of its plant-based spin on popular dishes such as the Whopper.

Making vegan food more popular can cut the cost of keeping so many animals in favour of growing cheaper products in the ground. Much meat in fast food dishes is processed heavily so meat-free alternatives are easy to reproduce.

By 2030, Burger King is aiming for a 50 per cent meat-free menu. It will likely be a lot higher when plant recipes are perfected as fast food chains have the power to set trends many more will follow.


My partner and I finally tied the knot at Square Tower, Old Portsmouth – a splendid venue with wonderful staff who took great care of us and kept us in the loop every step of the way.

This helped immensely with our wobbly nerves. It was beautifully lit and utterly perfect. We could not have asked for a better service from such caring people.

The tower was built in 1494 during the reign of Henry VII as part of the town’s fortifications and contained a hefty amount of gunpowder! Today, it made a unique setting for our wedding. This was followed by a reception in the Spice Island Inn with superb food, wonderful harbour views and, again, excellent staff.

I recommend both for any wedding consideration list.