A dad was forced to pull out a loose tooth with a pair of pliers after failing to get an appointment with an NHS dentist.
Chris Langston, from Oswestry in Shropshire, He was left in agony after his back molar became loose, causing him pain when he ate, drank and spoke.
But the 50-year-old was unable to get an NHS appointment for six months.
She was left with the option of paying £90 to have the tooth extracted privately, 30 miles away, at the nearest emergency dentist, or taking matters into her own hands.
Out of “necessity”, Mr Langston, a metal detectorist, grabbed his pliers and pulled out the tooth in the bathroom of his home.
Chris Langston, 50, who runs metal detecting holidays, removed his back molar with pliers after it became loose.
Langston admitted he felt “weak in the knees” when he came out of the bathroom after pulling a tooth and almost fainted, but he says the pain relief was worth it. An appointment with a private dentist would have cost Mr Langston £40 for a check-up and up to £50 for removal – something he could not afford.
Langston said his loose tooth caused him the “worst pain” of his life and forced him to eat only soup and rolls.
Mr Langston said: “I have never had a major toothache. As it became loose, it was really painful every time I spoke. I heard it bothering me.
“Every time I spoke, swallowed, drank or ate, it was agony.”
But an appointment with a private dentist would have cost £40 for a check-up and up to £50 for removal, something he couldn’t afford.
In addition to the cost, going private would have involved a 60-mile round trip.
Mr Langston said: “I couldn’t get there with the children.” So I took the pliers.
“I heard the prices and thought I had to put up with this.”
Describing the process, he said: ‘As soon as I touched it, it hurt.
‘When I grabbed it, it was like do it or don’t I. It was a shock. It was a big pull, but he came out pretty clean.
Mr Langston said: ‘A little tug and a downward pull of the pliers and that’s it. I wouldn’t recommend it. To nobody. It was horrible.’
‘There were two roots inside and half a root outside. It took a good tug. He makes me shudder. Metal on your teeth is not a pleasant feeling.
Although he claims the tooth came out “nice and easy,” he admits there was “a little bit of blood.”
But pulling the tooth brought him “relief,” although it left a “void” in his mouth, Langston said.
Langston admitted he felt “weak in the knees” when he came out of the bathroom and almost passed out, but he says the pain relief was worth it.
He said: ‘The children were horrified. I did it in the bathroom, I almost fainted, my knees were weak. To get psyched up, you need a lot of adrenaline.’
His sister was shocked when Mr Langston admitted pulling out the tooth, but has not shown his mother the extracted tooth because she would find it “disgusting”.
While babysitting her children, she said she had a “cup of strong tea” after pulling her tooth instead of brandy.
“It was simply out of necessity at the time, it was the circumstances. “I imagine there’s a dentist rolling their eyes reading this,” Mr Langston added.
Since having the tooth pulled last week, Langston said his pain has reduced to a dull ache and he can eat again.
‘The week before, all I could eat was soup and a roll. Now I can eat steak. The pain is not as intense as before. It just hurts,’ she said.
This graph shows the number of dentists who worked in the NHS each year; The number fell sharply during the Covid pandemic, but has recovered slightly to just over 24,000 according to the latest data.
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He fears he will find himself in a similar situation again if the Government does not control the dental crisis.
“I should never have gotten to this point where I was forced to have my teeth removed. The Government needs to do something urgently,” said Mr Langston.
‘It is impossible to get an NHS appointment in Oswestry. In the future I will still be left without a dentist and will not be able to pay privately.
“Fingers crossed everything stays in place so I don’t have to take them out again.”
He said he used to be able to get an appointment with the NHS dentist on the same day, and that getting one Hiring an emergency dentist with a private company is outside their “scope of affordability.”
Langston is one of many adults who have been unable to access NHS dentistry.
The latest figures, from June last year, show that around 26 million adults – around 60 per cent of the population – have not had a check-up in the past two years.
This is one of the lowest ratios since modern records began in 2006.
The crisis has led to a surge in desperate Brits turning to home dentistry to get rid of their pain.
A lack of appointments on the NHS has also been blamed for the growing number of missed cases of oral cancer, which is usually detected in its earliest and most treatable stages during routine dental checks.
It comes after No10 this week unveiled its long-awaited NHS dental recovery plan, described as “putting NHS dentistry on a sustainable footing”.
Under Rishi Sunak’s bold plan to fix the appointment crisis affecting millions of people, dentists will be offered up to £50 to see patients who haven’t had a check-up in the last two years.
Around 240 dentists – around one per cent of the current workforce – will be offered a one-off “golden hello” bonus of up to £20,000 for working in underserved areas for up to three years.
‘Dental vans’ will also be deployed in rural and coastal areas so that people in the most isolated communities can continue to access help.
The Government is also controversially planning to add fluoride to the drinking water of millions more Britons in a bid to passively protect their oral health.
Officials hope the measures could lead to up to 2.5 million extra NHS appointments for patients over the next 12 months.
But the plan, unveiled 10 months after it was promised, was criticized by dental chiefs and politicians for not going far enough, with one saying it amounted to “rearranging the deckchairs”.
The police were even forced to turn away some patients. Pictured, patients outside St Pauls Dental Practice on Wednesday
Labour’s new advert, titled ‘Dentistry is not working’, shows snaking queues of prospective patients waiting to register at the newly opened NHS dental practice in Bristol.
Instead, health leaders called for a “radical reform” of the dental contract, accusing Sunak of doing a U-turn on his promise to restore the crippled industry.
Labor has also accused the Government of removing much of the scheme from its own plans.
NHS dentistry has been in crisis for years, with leaders claiming the sector is chronically underfunded, making it financially unviable to carry out treatments.
Compounding the problem is that, as more dentists leave the NHS, those who remain are becoming overwhelmed by more and more patients.
Some Britons have been forced to travel abroad (including war-torn Ukraine) to see a dentist due to a dire lack of access to the NHS.
Others have had no choice but to queue from 4am in front of newly opened NHS clinics in the hope of getting a check-up. Scenes outside a surgery in Bristol this week were described as “reminiscent of Soviet-era Eastern Europe”.