A mum-of-two forced to remove 13 of her own teeth after she was unable to find an NHS dentist has been left ‘overwhelmed’ by a community appeal to raise funds for her dental work.
Danielle Watts, 42, turned to DIY dentistry last year after suffering from chronic gum disease and the closure of her NHS dentist about seven years ago.
By October of last year she had removed 11 of her own teeth as she couldn’t find any NHS dentists in her area, and could not afford private treatment.
Danielle, of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, has since removed two more of her teeth and has 14 left but still needs eight removed before having dentures fitted.
A local councillor has launched an online campaign to raise £1,500 to help her pay for dentures after she has several more teeth extracted.
The 42-year-old 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.
Danielle said she tries not to smile to avoid showing the gaps in her mouth.
“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,” she said.
“To have people I don’t even know get a gist of what I’m going through it starts to get a little overwhelming, I don’t expect it.”
Last Thursday she paid for a private appointment with MyDentist and will have four teeth extracted on August 15 with the others a fortnight later before the dentures are fitted.
Danielle, who works in packing for a printing company, decided to make the appointment as she is in ‘quite a lot of pain’ with one tooth that needs removing.
She thinks her condition could have been better managed had she been able to see an NHS dentist.
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.”
Before she went public, Danielle said she felt ‘ashamed’ of her teeth but after she spoke out she realised she wasn’t alone.
Cllr Parker said: “I would really love to make this happen for her.
“She would never ask as she is a humble lady and wouldn’t like to, so I am.”
Danielle added that she is looking forward to the day she can ‘properly smile’ at those who helped her to thank them.