Portsmouth dad pulled his own teeth out as he couldn’t see dentist

Chris Savage, from Portsmouth, took a pair of pliers to his mouth after local dental practices told him they weren’t taking on any new patients (Picture: Solent News)

A dad who struggled to get a dental appointment during the pandemic had to resort to yanking his own teeth out after downing eight cans of Stella.  

Chris Savage, 42, became desperate after 20 local dental practices told him they weren’t accepting any new NHS patients.

After days in agony he took matters into his own hands but described it as the ‘most horrible thing I’ve ever done.’

Chris, from Southsea, Portsmouth, admitted he had to get ‘very drunk’ by downing eight cans of Stella Artois to mask the pain before he pulled out the first tooth. He then waited another 24 hours to pull the second out – this time sober.

He said: ‘I ended up having to get very drunk the first time. Nobody wants to take part of their own face away with a set of pliers and no real painkillers.

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‘I put the pliers on my tooth and the second I did that it hurt. So I took them away, waited five minutes, built up again and then thought I’ve just got to do it.

‘It was a proper yank, a grip and pull – there’s no mucking about once you get to the point it’s started coming out.’

The father-of-three didn’t register with an NHS dentist when he moved to Portsmouth from Alton, Hampshire, three years ago.

Chris Savage could only perform the emergency surgery on himself after getting drunk (Picture: Portsmouth News/Solent News)

He lost his two front teeth in a bicycle crash last year, and when he began to experience pain recently he called around local practices, none of whom were taking on new patients.

He then phoned 111, who directed him to a practice that had volunteered to do triage appointments during the pandemic to help the NHS, but was referred back to 111 when he contacted them.

‘It was like a massive game of pass the parcel’, he said.

Chris signed up to receive Universal Credit during lockdown after losing work as a self-employed labourer. This left him with £50 a week for food and bills, meaning he was reluctant to spend the £100 per tooth it would have cost him to have them removed privately.

He said: ‘I could’ve waited a week – borrowed money, and had it done in hygienic conditions but there was no way I could’ve waited.

He said it was the ‘most horrible thing I’ve ever done’ (Picture: Portsmouth News/Solent News)

‘Hygiene wasn’t going through my head, it was just “get this out” – but the relief was worth it.

‘The squelch noise as you pull it out is like nothing I’ve ever experienced and I thought “I’ve made a big mistake here”.

‘Then 10 minutes later there was a massive relief, but I couldn’t do that second one.’

Dentists say it is never a good idea to perform surgery on yourself, not least because of the risk of sepsis, which kills 50,000 a year.

A spokesman for NHS England and NHS Improvement South East said: ‘If a patient has been clinically assessed as needing urgent treatment which cannot be carried out by a local dental practice, they can be referred to one of the urgent dental care hubs which remain in place.’

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