Patients are pulling out their own teeth because they cannot find a dentist.

New figures by the Heath and Social Care Committee found that out of 2,104 people, 10 percent were attempting ‘DIY dentistry’ resulting in some disastrous consequences.

More than half of the group carried DIY dentistry out in the last year and 20 per cent said they did so because they could not find an NHS dentist.

Clinical director of Synergy Dental Group, Bolton based Dr Zubair Bagasi, who says he has seen patients walk in after a tooth extraction went wrong at home.

Dr Bagasi said: “Patients have to be desperate to be able to do this because it is extremely painful, and it concerns me as a dentist that this is going on because people cannot find a dentist.

The Bolton News: Dr Zuber Bagasi

“We see this regularly with one patient coming in with a jawbone fracture after trying to self-remedy.

“They were in so much pain and there was an immediate referral for surgery, and they had an infection and lost teeth because of it.”

Dr Bagasi also highlighted that people in Bolton were attending the clinics with an array of problems that can be caused by home dentistry such as infections and cracked teeth.

Ben Squires, Head of Primary Care for Greater Manchester, said: “We are working with local dentists to enable practices to take on more NHS patients.

"It should be noted that figures being referenced for 2023 are impacted by what access to dentistry was like during the pandemic period (2020-22).

“However, it is pleasing to note that the figures clearly indicate an improving position of access post pandemic.

“We do not recommend self-treatment in the way described.

"If you need a check-up or dental treatment, you can register with a practice outside your local community.

“If someone who is not registered with an NHS dentist or has a dental emergency and their regular dentist is closed, you call the Greater Manchester Urgent Dental Care Service on 0333 332 3800.”

The problem, the dentist revealed, was because recruitment was too low across the whole country.

He said: “The biggest impact for dentistry is recruitment, which means it’s difficult to recruit dentists to work in a town like Bolton.

“It has been hard especially due to Brexit because dentists from Europe are no longer available here.

“The Bolton area team are actually very supportive of local practices and have been offering schemes to help give access to the local population.”

One of these schemes is a quality access scheme which offers incentives to local NHS dentists to take on new patients, but only a handful of dentists in Bolton are signed up to this.

Dr Bagasi said: “We are at full capacity, but we offer free training to recruit dentists to work at one of our practices.”

The survey also found 22 percent of people were not registered with a dentist, with 23 percent of those saying it is because they cannot afford treatment.

Dr Bagasi agreed with this and said: “Only 50 percent are accessing dental services with us so the other 50 percent are self-remedying.”

The proportion of adults seen by NHS dentists in Bolton over the past two years remains below pre-pandemic levels, new figures show.

It comes as the British Dental Association call for "radical and urgent change" to help NHS dentistry recover from the impact of Covid-19.

Figures from the NHS show 107,436 adults were seen by an NHS dentist in Bolton in the two years leading to June 30 this year, 49 per cent of the area's adult population.

It is up from 37 per cent in 2020-22 but below the rate before Covid-19 when 51 per cent were seen in 2017-19.

Nationally, 18.1 million adults were seen by an NHS dentist in the 24 months to June 30 this year. It is up from 16.4 million in 2020-2022, but still below the 22 million seen in 2017-19.

BDA chairman Eddie Crouch said: "We’re seeing the limits on the recovery and this Government’s ambition.

"Demoralised dentists are walking away from a broken system, while millions struggle to access the care they need. NHS dentistry can come back from the brink, but only if ministers turn the page."

The BDA dismissed the Government's changes to the NHS dentistry contract at the start of the current financial year as "minor tweaks".

An NHS spokesperson said the figures show significant recovery in dental treatment for children since the pandemic with 6.4 million seen in the year to June 2023.

In Bolton, 44,277 children were seen in the past year – covering 64% of under-18s in the area.

The rate is up from 51 per cent in 2021-22 but below 65 per cent in 2018-19.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "We are making progress to boost NHS dental services with 23 per cent more courses of treatment, meaning 1.7 million more adults and 800,000 more children received NHS dental care.

"We fund more than £3 billion of NHS dentistry a year, have announced plans to increase dental training places by 40 per cent and last week we launched a consultation to better utilise the skills of dental hygienists and therapists."