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Bloke has been getting drunk and ‘pulling his own teeth out’ for 15 years

A bloke who has given up on trying to find an NHS dentist says he just has a "couple of beers” to numb the pain and then yanks his own teeth out with pliers.

David Sergeant says he’s found it impossible to book an NHS dentist appointment.

Instead, the 50-year-old former butcher loosens any teeth that are bothering him gradually over a few weeks.

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Then, when the day of reckoning comes, he downs a couple of beers and “fills himself up” on ibuprofen to numb the pain before yanking the tooth out.

The following day there’s “a bit of blood”, which David ruefully admits ought to be "taken care of".

David, from Seacroft, Leeds, now has an almost toothless grin, with several sizeable gaps in his teeth showing how many times he’s had to resort to such drastic action.

The NHS insists reforms have come in which will allow practices to take on more patients. It has advised against self-treatment, asking people in need of help to call the NHS 111 number or a local dental practice.

David 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.”

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David struggles with his mental health, for which he receives disability benefits, and has been hit hard by the ongoing cost of living crisis.

He sometimes 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.

Mr Sergeant said: “I’ve just raided my copper jar just to get a pint of milk."

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An NHS spokesperson 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.”

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