Dental services are at risk of catastrophic collapse, with people resorting to “DIY dentistry” and pulling their own teeth with pliers, the Senedd heard.

Peter Fox warned that NHS dental services are seeing rapid decline following the Welsh Government’s introduction of a new contract in 2022.

He told the Senedd: “These contracts don’t work for dentists, nor do they work for patients,” as he highlighted a 60 per cent fall in the number of NHS dental posts compared with 2021.

Echoing concerns raised by the British Dental Association, the Conservative MS said dental services face potential catastrophic collapse due to the contract reforms.

Eluned Morgan told the chamber the majority of contacts with the NHS are in primary care – with up to one-and-a-half million contacts a month in a population of three million people.

Wales’ health secretary recognised the extreme pressure on practices, saying the contract last year provided a five per cent uplift not just to GPs but also staff who work in their surgeries.

She said: “We want to reform the dental contract on a preventative basis, responding to risk and need, and we have introduced up to 300,000 appointments to new dental patients.”