A man says he pulled out his own tooth after waiting 18 months for an NHS dentist.
David Woodhouse, 62, from Ventongimps, near Truro, Cornwall, claimed he couldn’t get a place at the dental surgery near his home.
“I had a loose one and it was causing me a little bit of pain, so I got the needle-nose pliers and out it came,” he told the BBC.
“The removal itself was considerably less painful than the long-term pain I was experiencing.
“I’m not looking forward to the next tooth coming loose, I may have to consider a bank loan to go private, but why should I?
“I feel so embarrassed as well, it would be nice to eat an apple or a steak again one day.”
Mr Woodhouse, an engineer, said he used to go for regular check-ups at his local dentist but lost his place after returning from a period working abroad.
He said he was told it would take several days to see an emergency dentist so decided to remove the tooth himself.
“I tried to get an NHS dentist,” he said. “I went online – nothing. I went on a waiting list – nothing.
“It’s like looking for gold dust. When you go on the waiting list you have to specify three towns, but I would go anywhere within 100 miles of Truro.
“I would go anywhere within half a day’s drive – I do not care.”
NHS England says people in need of urgent dental care should contact its emergency helpline.
It says there are more than 48,000 people on the NHS dentist waiting list in Devon and Cornwall.