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A mum-of-two was forced to turn to DIY dental work and pulled out 13 of her own teeth after she couldn't find an NHS dentist to perform the treatment.
Danielle Watts, 42, suffers from chronic gum disease and was left feeling helpless after her local NHS dentist closed seven years ago.
Danielle, of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, has 14 teeth left and still needs eight removed before she can have dentures fitted. She said she tries not to smile to avoid showing the gaps in her mouth.
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She said: "I live with this every day. I take painkillers, I go to work, I look after my kids and I deal with shutting my smiles down – I hate talking to people, even people I know."
But it isn't all bad news – a local councillor has launched a campaign to raise £1,500 to help Danielle access private dental care and help her pay for the dentures once she's had more teeth extracted.
Councillor Katie Parker, who started the campaign, said: "I would really love to make this [dental work] happen for her. She would never ask as she is a humble lady and wouldn't like to, so I am."
She said she ‘felt a little bit tearful’ at the ‘overwhelming’ community response having already received £1,000 from a parishioner to pay for the extractions.
"To have people I don't even know get a gist of what I'm going through it starts to get a little overwhelming," she said. "I don't expect it."
Last Thursday (14 July) Danielle booked a private appointment with MyDentist to have four teeth extracted in mid-August, with the other four set to be removed a fortnight later in preparation to have the dentures fitted.
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Danielle, who works for a printing company, was prompted to make the appointment as one tooth that needs removing is causing her 'quite a lot of pain'.
Despite the immense support she has received, she thinks her condition could have been managed better if she had been able to access NHS care.
She said: "Yes, my teeth would probably have needed removing anyway, but I wouldn't be resorting to removing them myself, walking around with no teeth and in pain every single day.
"I'm now at the end of my tether and don't know where else to go. I've been forced to have this massive bill whereas if I was still with an NHS dentist, things would have carried on happening with my teeth, but it would have been a gradual step."
Danielle added that she is looking forward to the day she can 'properly smile' at those who helped her to thank them.
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- Health issues
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