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A Disturbing Trend: Do-It-Yourself Dentistry

Apr 09, 2015

By Dean George

America may forever be in Great Britain’s debt for giving us Winston Churchill, the Beatles and James Bond, but one current trend that hopefully stays in the British Isles is do-it-yourself dentistry.

The British Dental Health Foundation reported last year that one in five people admitted they would pull their own teeth or have a friend do it because they couldn't  afford seeing a private dentist.

Great Britain’s Department of Health reports that record numbers of people are receiving dental treatment through the National Health Service (NHS), but the price of getting a filling is as much as 52 pounds, or $77 in U.S. dollars. Consequently, many British families living in poverty are taking dental treatment into their own hands.

NHS dental surgeries also have waiting lists of up to two years and may require patients to travel up to 40 miles for dental care. British newspapers report that in some parts of Great Britain there are waiting lists merely to register with an NHS dentist.

Those performing self-treatment for oral health problems are using first aid dental kits containing temporary filling material as well as cap and crown cement. Kits, similar to Temparin Max sold by DenTek, require no prescription, are widely available, and sell for less than 5 pounds (roughly $7.50 in U.S. dollars.)

DenTek, a U.S. company in Marysville, Tennessee, reportedly sells around 250,000 such kits a year. The company recommends the Temparin Max kit for “lost fillings” and “loose caps and crowns,” but also advises that it is to be used as a temporary remedy and should only be removed by a dental professional. The package clearly states that users should visit their dentist within 48 hours of application; however, many people are using the kit as a permanent solution.

“DIY dentistry is both dangerous and unnecessary,” said Dr. Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation. “There are too many examples of people pulling out the wrong tooth and ending up with infections. It is all too easy to make the problem worse, which could result in more invasive and expensive treatment.”

It is unknown how many Americans practice self-dentistry, but as previously reported in Dental Wire, 20% of low-income Americans say they haven’t visited a dentist in more than five years. The American Dental Association (ADA), in the same study, reported that 181 million Americans didn’t visit the dentist at all in 2010.

Don’t take your dental health in your own hands but rather leave it to the professionals. At Dental Insurance Store we offer discount dental plans and several insurance plans for $10 or less a month. To find plans available in your area, click here.

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Copyright 2015, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC©

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