Nottingham grandma pulls out own tooth after waiting five months for dentist appointment

ITV News Central correspondent Rajiv Popat spoke to Jacqueline Shepherd who pulled out her own tooth after failing to get an NHS dental appointment.

She said she would have had to pull out many more, if she hadn't finally managed to see a dentist after five months.

A woman spent two days twisting her tooth until it finally came out, after failing to get a dentist appointment.

Jacqueline Shepherd, 56, a mother-of-two from St. Ann's in Nottingham, resorted to pulling out her own tooth because she was in excruciating pain after developing toothache in February this year.

"I just got clove oil, and it's like Bonjela but it's not Bonjela, it's for your gums and it numbed it and I got a tissue and just twisted it 'til I got it out.

"I can't really describe the pain - I've given birth to two children, it was worse than that.

"I kept twisting it - it took me two days to finally get it out."

Ms Shepherd says medication she takes caused a Vitamin D deficiency and loosened her teeth.

She was left without a dentist after the Coronavirus pandemic and wasn't able to afford private treatment, so spent hours every week trying to get an appointment.

"All of them were saying we're not taking on NHS patients, but we are taking on private, and it'll cost you a hundred and something pound for a check-up and then your treatment.

"And I was very upset - how can you do that - not take NHS on but take private on?"The pain did begin to subside after taking the tooth out, but the situation soon became unbearable with her other teeth.

She finally got an appointment in July at a practice in Sneinton.

She says if she hadn't got that appointment, she'd have had to pull out more.

“I was crying and in so much pain. It’s absolutely disgusting. It was the worst experience of my life, toothache is one of the worst things you can have.

"I couldn’t eat anything because the pain was on both sides of my mouth.

“The pain was that bad that even talking was causing a problem. I feel sorry for anyone who might be in the same position. It was five months of sheer hell."

Today we contacted four dental practices close to Jacqueline's home. None of them are accepting new NHS patients and they don't have a waiting list.

They weren't able to say when they would start accepting patients.

They all quoted more than £100 for a tooth extraction with an initial assessment between £50-£80.

A spokesperson for NHS Midlands said:

“We are really sorry to hear of this very unfortunate case and are taking initiatives to increase the number of dental care sessions for people across the Midlands.

The latest data show dental services are recovering post pandemic, with over 26 million patient treatments delivered in England last year – up 120% from the year before, along with 1.7 million more children getting seen by an NHS dentist.

NHS advice if you need a dentist

  • Find a dental surgery that's convenient for you, whether it's near your home or work, and phone to see if there are any appointments available.

  • Dental surgeries will not always have the capacity to take on new NHS patients. You may have to join a waiting list, look for a different dentist who is taking on new NHS patients, or be seen privately.

  • If after contacting several dental surgeries you still cannot find a dentist accepting NHS patients, then call NHS England's Customer Contact Centre on 0300 311 2233.

  • If you urgently need to see a dentist - then phone NHS 111 who can put you in touch with an urgent dental service. Do not contact a GP, as they will not be able to offer urgent or emergency dental care.