Falling numbers of state dentists in England has led to some people taking extreme measures, including extracting their own teeth, according to a new study released Monday.
Others have used superglue to stick crowns back on, rather than stumping up for private treatment, said the study. One person spoke of carrying out 14 separate extractions on himself with pliers.
More typically, a lack of publicly-funded dentists means that growing numbers go private: 78 percent of private patients said they were there because they could not find a National Health Service (NHS) dentist, and only 15 percent because of better treatment.
"This is an uncomfortable read for all of us, and poses serious questions to politicians from patients," said Sharon Grant of the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health.
Overall, six percent of patients had resorted to self-treatment, according to the survey of 5 000 patients in England, which found that one in five had decided against dental work because of the cost.
One researcher involved in compiling the study -- carried out by members of England's Patient and Public Involvement Forums – came across three people in one morning who had pulled out teeth themselves.