A man who has been unable to book an NHS dentist for more than 15 years has resorted to pulling out his own teeth, with only the help of booze and over the counter drugs for the pain.
Ex-butcher David Sergeant, 50, says if he has a painful tooth he gradually loosens it over time before filling up with booze and Ibuprofen and yanking it out.
His drastic action comes after a 15-year search for an NHS dentist to help treat him.
Instead he now has a number of empty cavities in his bear-toothless grin.
Mr Sergeant said: “I’ve been pulling my own teeth out.
“I can’t get an NHS dentist, for ten or 15 years. I’ve tried referrals from the doctors and there’s nowhere that will take me.
“I wait until the tooth is loose and then loosen it and loosen it and loosen it and pull it out myself. I have used pliers in the past, like big ones, but most of the time I just use my fingers.
“I have a couple of beers and fill myself up with ibuprofen and out it comes. Next morning there’s a bit of blood.
“It doesn’t feel very good. At the end of the day, I’m having to pull my own teeth out when I should have somebody looking after me.”
The NHS insists reforms have come in which will allow practices to take on more patients.
It advises against self treatment, asking people in need of help to call the NHS 111 number or a local dentistry practice.
Mr Sergeant struggles with his mental health, for which he receives Disability Living Allowance (DLA), and has been hit hard by the ongoing cost of living crisis.
He added: “I’ve just raided my copper jar just to get a pint of milk.”
He also struggles to provide for his pet dog Ash, a 12-year-old Japanese Akita, but fortunately has friends who have helped him to buy dog food.
A spokesman for the NHS said: “Anyone with concerns about their dental health should contact a local dentist practice as they usually would or seek advice from NHS 111.
“Recently announced reforms to dentistry services are supporting practices to improve access including by giving high performing practices the opportunity to increase their activity and treat more patients – with discussions around further changes that benefit patients and staff ongoing.
“Infection prevention and control measures to protect staff and patients were introduced during the pandemic, limiting the number of procedures that NHS dentists could carry out, however these have now been lifted so dental teams are operating at full capacity for the first time in two years.”