Man removes 11 of his teeth with pliers after being unable to get NHS dentist appointment

  • As more people in the North West are forced to turn to DIY dentistry ITV Granada Reports journalist Emma Sweeney spoke to one man who pulled out 11 of his own teeth

A man has been forced to remove 11 of his teeth with pliers in the past four years after being left with "no option" when he could not get dentist appointments.

George Glinos was first unable to get an appointment to see an NHS dentist in 2018 - which led to him removing one of his own teeth.

The dad-of-one, from Liverpool, says for four years he rang practices at the start of each month to register and be seen, but was never successful.

As a result he removed 11 of his own teeth.

George says it became so bad, he preferred the pain he was in with his teeth, over his monthly attempts at appointments.

He said he removed the teeth "with a lot of pain, and a pair of pliers".

"There's no option," he says. "I tried phoning every month for dentists on the list for national health and I had no response at all, I didn't have an option."

"It's a hard thing, the pain at the end of it because it was a regular occurrence.

"The pain sort of became my friend, it was there I knew there was nothing I could do about it, but ringing up dentists every month became an absolute pain.

"There is a big list, you have to ring them all up, and the worst thing about it is the dentists didn't even take your name, they just said 'no', we have no vacancies.

"There's not even a list to put your name on in hopes you were going to get a dentist at some point in the future."

The Government has said it is "determined to fix the issues” with NHS dentistry. Credit: PA

The 68-year-old father of one has finally found an NHS dentist and now has dentures - but he has struggled with the ones on the bottom of his mouth, so only uses the ones in the top.

"It takes me twice as long to eat anything, I'm still at the table five, 10 minutes after everyone else has finished because I only have one tooth on the bottom and it takes me forever to chew anything.

"I can't chew everything properly, half the stuff you're swallowing in big lumps, which isn't good for your health, you don't feel too good.

"If you have a good meal you're torn between feeling satisfied with the food and torn with amount of air you have in your belly, it leaves you so bloated, it's not nice at all, you don't enjoy it at all."

Experts have long insisted that dentistry in the NHS is facing a crisis.

Recent figures from the Labour party show that 77% of surgeries in the North West are not accepting any new adult patients, while more than 50% are not accepting any patients at all.

But the government has now announced it has a £200 million plan to address the crisis.

It says say it will create a further 2.5 million appointments across the country in the next 12 months, and will increase the number of dentists working in under-served areas through the use of cash incentives.

Private dentist Dr Lance Knight says he believes the money is a "short-term plan" which will not work long-term.

"The extra payments can work but the NHS dentists that I know are already super busy, so it's very difficult for them to fit in the extra work," he said.

"Myself and our clinic here, we are already very busy as well so it's difficult to see how we are going to achieve this extra work that's needed on the NHS setup.

"It's wonderful and it's welcome that we have got this extra money available for NHS dentistry, but for me to transition back from a private setting to an NHS one isn't really feasible under these circumstances.

"It's a short term plan. Longer term if they wanted to coax dentists back into the NHS they would have to have a sit down discussion with them about how they are going to fund that over the next five to 10 years so then we could invest in the infrastructure.

"Setting up new surgeries isn't cheap and to do that we have to be reassured that we have the money available longterm to look after the patients."

George is also not convinced it will work.

He said: "I hope it will help other people, but you can never be sure. It's a shame, I always thought governments were in to help the people, but they don't seem to be too interested in doing that these days.

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