PEOPLE with unbearable dental problems have been taking out their own teeth and overdosing on painkillers while surgeries have been shut.

Dentists in the area say they have been left powerless to help out because of confusion over when – and how – they can reopen their doors safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

They say the guidance given to businesses, schools and places of work is much easier to understand and have called for clarity from the government.

At Grants Dental Practice in Royal Wootton Bassett, Lizzy Hudd said everything has changed.

“Everything was really good, I was living the dream and then Covid-19 happened," said Lizzy, who took over the practice in 2015. "We were told to close and not to have any face-to-face contact.

“Now we’re needing to catch up on 120 emergency appointments that we couldn’t have over the last few months. One patient in particular was in an immense amount of pain but there was nothing we could do, which made us feel helpless.

“We’ve felt completely abandoned by the government because the industry wasn’t aware they could open until Boris Johnson announced it to the public (in May), so we found out at the same time as them.”

Lizzy said the cost of PPE has more than doubled.

The practice is also taking extra measures to protect its patients, who will need to ring the doorbell between appointments

Dr Ali Al Hassan has worked at Clyde House Dental Practice in Bath Road since September 2018.

He said: “In March all dentists were told to close but now things are easing we have reopened. Unfortunately because we have lots of regulatory bodies there is conflicting guidance with seeing patients again.

“There are a lot of patients in pain right now, some people resorted to taking their own teeth out or overdosing on painkillers.

"The response to set up emergency centres has been very slow, there were many problems with these centres as well. One was lack of PPE and the government’s response being slow. It’s been very disheartening.

“It’s really worrying patients are doing this, losing teeth can be quite devastating for some people. It can make people lose confidence in smiling and cause mental health issues like depression.”

Clyde House is only taking emergency appointments, which need to be booked in advance. Every patient must wear a mask at the surgery and all surfaces are being cleaned between each appointment.