A dad refused an emergency dental appointment because of the coronavirus lockdown pulled out his own tooth – using a pair of pliers.
Billy Taylor, 33, spent an hour working the infected gnasher out with the help of his young son as the pain had become “excruciating”.
He had tried to get into a dentist and even called 111, but claims he was told that he wouldn’t be seen unless he was struggling to breathe.
Dental authorities have warned that more and more people may start to take “matters into their own hands” if strict COVID-19 measures mean surgeries stay shut.
Billy decided to perform the procedure on himself using a tool from work after failing to get seen by a professional – using a couple of shots of whisky as a sedative.
He said the dodgy tooth eventually came out after much pushing and pulling – and the pain disappeared almost instantly.
But Billy, of Axminster, Devon, said he wouldn’t recommend that anyone else try it as they may cause more damage.
He said: “I’ve had problems with that tooth for about two years.
“I’ve been to the dentist over it four times. They recapped it, I’ve had a root canal.
“I had toothache running up to the Bank Holiday weekend. It was getting worse and worse. The pain was excruciating.
“Then, on the Tuesday after, my face was swelling and I had a migraine on that side. I think it was an abcess.
“I phoned a dentist but they weren’t very clear so I called 111. They said that I shouldn’t go in until it was restricting my breathing.
“It got really bad that night and the swelling was getting worse. I was pretty wound up.
“I thought: ‘Why don’t I just do it myself?’.”
An aircraft fitter by trade, Billy had a selection of tools he thought capable of completing the job – settling on wire locking pliers.
He also did some research on YouTube and searched online for any possible complications before deciding to go ahead.
Billy then drank a couple of shots of whisky and asked his 11-year-old son Leo to keep watch in case he passed out.
He said: “I put the wire in the way that you floss. Once that was on it wasn’t coming off.
“Me and my lad ripped it out – it took about an hour. The process was bloody painful. It was hideous. But I’m into motocross – I can put up with a lot.
“I probably wouldn’t recommend it, unless you know what you are doing. You could crush the whole tooth.
“I said to Leo: ‘If I faint, you need to call 999’. He was like: ‘Oh my God, stop!’.
“But the swelling was obviously a serious infection which was spreading – it was puffing up.”
The British Dental Association warned this week that the continued coronavirus lockdown could result in people taking drastic measures when suffering.
Chairman Mick Armstrong said: “Whenever access problems emerge people with toothache take matters into their own hands.
“It’s inevitable many desperate patients will resort to ‘DIY dentistry’ unless we see rapid action from government.”
The NHS is in the process of setting up urgent dental care centres across Britain, it has said.
Billy has one other son, Harrison, 14. He is unmarried.