An antiques dealer was forced to yank out 18 of his own teeth after suffering “unbearable” agony as he searched in vain for a dentist.

David Spoors, who runs History Box, in Magdalen Street, took the horrific decision to remove his own teeth after receding gums left him in terrible pain.

But despite desperately calling every dental surgery he could find there was no one that could help. So finally he decided the only answer was looping string around the teeth and using brute force to get them out.

The 65-year-old army veteran said: "It was agony. It's the most pain I've ever been in in my life. My face was so swollen and the pain was travelling up my neck and into my head so I had awful migraines.

"It was unbearable. It felt like no one cared. I kept calling dentists who told me they had full waiting lists and that they couldn't help me."

The news was no surprise to the British Dental Association chairman Eddie Crouch who said: "Access to dentistry was in crisis long before Covid but in the last year has seen cases that have no place in a wealthy, 21st century nation.

%image(14445169, type="article-full", alt="Eddie Crouch, chairman of the British Dental Association, said "DIY dentistry belongs in the Victorian era."")

"DIY dentistry belongs in the Victorian era. Sadly, this horror show will persist until ministers deliver a system that can provide care for all that need it."

The subject of waiting times for dental appointments is due to be debated in parliament next week as even prior to the pandemic an estimated one in 10 people had their dental needs unmet, equivalent to around two million people.

Thankfully the end to Mr Spoors' trouble is in sight after a chance encounter with Jim Peirson of the Dental Health Care surgery in Aylsham Road, who overheard Mr Spoors' grisly story as he pleaded with the dental receptionist for help.

Mr Spoors, who lives in Cromer, added: "After all that time of feeling like no one would help me, Jim really restored my faith in people. The whole team were so lovely and kept me calm in what could have been a stressful situation.

"It'll be such a confidence boost to have my teeth sorted. I cannot thank them enough."