‘DIY’ Dentistry and Huge Waiting Times: Southwark dentists struggle with post-pandemic backlogs

The News contacted twelve Southwark dentists to find out which were taking on NHS patients, and how long they’d have to wait for an appointment.

Southwark dentists have revealed that NHS patients face huge waiting times, with some even turning to DIY dentistry kits.

Of the twelve dentists we spoke to, only five were taking on NHS patients. Of those five, only one said they could see patients in less than a month’s time.

Louise Ansari, national director at Healthwatch England said: “People in every corner of England are struggling to get the dental treatment they need when they need it.

“Some continue to live in pain, feeling anxious and forgotten; and in the most extreme cases some people have turned to ‘DIY’ dentistry, which poses a risk for long-term complications.”

“It is often the most vulnerable people in our society, including children, disabled people and those on low incomes, who are suffering the most.”

Peckham Family Dental Care, Peckham, SE15 5EG

An employee at the practice said they’ve been “overwhelmed” ever since the pandemic and are at “full capacity”.

They are not seeing NHS patients and don’t know when they will.

They said: “It’s really difficult and quite bad because I have to turn down a lot of people. There’s a lots of people on benefits who can’t afford the private treatment. It’s a bit of a shambles.”

Linden Grove Dental Care, Peckham, SE15 3LF

This Peckham-based dentist can’t see anymore NHS patients because they’ve already got so many.

People can book private check-ups which start at £65 a visit with an additional £10 for each x-ray.

A staff member said, in some cases, she’d heard of people using DIY dentist kits to give themselves fillings.

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Bermondsey Dental Studio, Bermondsey

A staff member at Bermondsey Dental Studio told the News in late May that they weren’t taking on new NHS patients as they tackled an eye-watering 900 patient waiting list.

South Bank Dental Care, Bermondsey

South Bank Dental care are not currently accepting new NHS patients but they suggested that people call at the beginning of July when they might have space.

My Dentist, Old Kent Road

An employee said that their capacity for NHS patients is completely full and they aren’t taking on private patients either.

They have no time scale for when they might be able to see patients again.

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PH Dental Care, Peckham

PH Dental Care were one of the few to say they were taking on both NHS patients and private patients.

Camberwell Dental Care, Camberwell

An employee at Camberwell Dental Care said that although they were taking on both private and NHS patients, people had to wait a month-and-a-half before being seen.

The Dental Practice, Camberwell

The Dental Practice in Camberwell aren’t accepting any NHS patients and their backlog means they’re unlikely to take on new patients before September.

If people are facing extreme dental emergencies, they’ve been intentionally double booking and hoping that people with pre-booked appointments don’t mind sharing their time slots. An employee said it was about showing “humanity”.

They said they’ve spoken to patients who are desperate for dental work, having not visited a dentist since 2016.

The Grange Dental Surgery, Grange Road, Bermondsey

The Grange Dental Surgery are taking on NHS patients, but they will have to wait at least a month for an appointment.

A staff member described the dentist as “extremely busy” adding “I’ve seen it where people are saying they can’t get a dentist at all. We’re playing it as we go month by month”.

Wytes, Walworth

Of all the dentists the News called, Wytes were offering appointments the soonest. They are able to see new NHS patients as soon as next week.

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Borough Dental Care, Borough, SE1 1JH

Borough Dental Care are operating at “maximum capacity” so cannot accept any NHS patients currently.

They suggested that patients call at the end of July when they can reasses the situation.

Private consultations are however available, although these cost at least £60.

East Dulwich Dental Care, Dulwich, SE22 0RR

East Dulwich Dental Care are taking on NHS patients but the earliest they can book appointments is August.

They can see private patients as soon as Monday, and charge £65 for a check-up.

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