Desperate mum pulls out 11 of her own teeth because she couldn't find a dentist
Danielle Watts hasn't seen a dentist for six years after her NHS practice shut down, leaving her unable to afford private appointments
A desperate mum was forced to pull out 11 of her own teeth because she couldn't find a dentist and was left in excruciating pain.
Danielle Watts, 42, now fears that she'll lose all her teeth as she can't afford private treatment, which could cost "thousands of pounds".
The mum-of-two is missing a third of her gnashers, including both front teeth, and her mouth is plagued by abscesses due to chronic gum disease.
Watts and her kids Oscar, 12, and Eliza, eight, haven't seen a dentist for six years after their NHS practice shut down, leaving her unable to afford private appointments.
Watts said her teeth "literally fall out".
"It's not like I have to get the pliers out - just a little twist or tug and they're free," Watts explained.
"I don't enjoy it, trust me. It's not like I've got a weird fetish or anything.
"I'm always having infection in my mouth - on a daily basis I'm in pain."
Watts, from Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, said that she avoids smiling due to her teeth and takes paracetamol daily to manage the pain. Lumps often appear in her mouth and when she squeezes them "it erupts with puss coming out".
She visited her practice, run by MyDentist, once a year before it shut, while her kids visited every six months.
Watts, an aspiring teaching assistant, said: "It's not like I've given up on my dental hygiene. I brush my teeth every day."
Watts explained that when MyDentist shut, they didn't refer her family anywhere. They've since reopened, but not for NHS patients.
"When I've walked into a private dentist they've handed me a leaflet with a £180 cost before I even sit down in the chair," Watts said.
"I can't afford to have that initial check-up and then have everything else afterwards.
"I don't expect free treatment. I'm aware there are costs but if I can't get through a door then I don't know what I'm looking at.
"I can't help not being able to get the help I needed."
Watts said she's received emergency dental care via 111 before but the dentists were unable to address her underlying gum disease and she now worries about her kids' teeth.
Her son Oscar needs braces, but Watts says she can't find a practice accepting NHS patients.
"I don't want my children to be looked at like I know I'm looked at," she said.
"I'm paranoid. It's horrible walking into a situation and all you're thinking is 'I've got no teeth, I can't speak properly, what are they going to think of me?'
"Even walking down the street, if someone makes eye contact and I smile then I think 'oh my God, I've smiled, sh*t', and I close my mouth."
Watts said her dental issues have a wide-ranging impact on her life. She avoids eating out, "because it hurts", can't eat apple slices, has to use a sensitive toothbrush, and has lost weight.
MyDentist and the NHS have been approached for comment.