Belmont Club

"A Land Fit For Heroes"

Like pulling teetThe Daily Mail reports: “A former soldier pulled his own teeth out with a pair of pliers because he could not find a dentist to take on NHS patients. Iraq War veteran Ian Boynton could not afford to go private for treatment so instead took the drastic action to remove 13 of his teeth that were giving him severe pain. The 42-year-old, from Beverley, East Yorkshire, had not had his teeth looked at since seeing the army dentist in 2003.”

A spokesman for NHS East Riding of Yorkshire said Mr Boynton’s case gave an ‘inaccurate scare-mongering picture of dental service provision in East Yorkshire based solely on the claims of one man’… NHS East Riding of Yorkshire has invested around £1 million in helping dentists target new patients. At many of our dental practices appointments are being offered to new patients within two weeks. ‘Our local out-of-hours and Accident and Emergency Services would have both been able to give Mr Boynton details of how to access emergency/urgent dental services if he had approached them.’

Appointments to the dentist within two weeks. If you know where to call. And conditions apply. The Father of the British welfare state, David Lloyd George, described his goal as one of creating “a land fit for heroes”. But that has not worked out too well in some respects.  It’s not as if the British were discriminating against ex-servicemen.  One enterprising civilian, similarly unable to find an NHS dentist, has resorted to the expedient of supergluing the fragments of his teeth together.

Gordon Cook, 55, has used the bizarre “DIY dentistry” technique on a loose crown for the last three years – with each fresh application of glue lasting around two months. The father of seven, who was erased from his original dentist’s register after moving to a new home in Tranmere, Merseyside, said he turned to glue after losing hope of finding a dentist. He said: “I tried to find a new dentist but they had all gone private.

“A lot of them said they would take me on as an NHS patient, but only if I agreed to have the loose crown fixed as a private patient, which would cost around £100.

“In the end, I just decided to take matters into my own hands. I had read somewhere that super glue was invented for medical use, to bond skin, so I gave it a go.

“I tried a few different brands but the one I use now, which is just called Industrial Super Glue, is the best.


Time Magazine wrote that while the Britons on average have fewer cavities than many other European nations, about 6% of the population engages in some for of do-it-yourself dentistry.

In a survey of thousands of English dental patients and hundreds of dentists published this month by the government-backed Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health, 6% of English patients fessed up to administering their own treatments. One admitted to yanking out 14 of his teeth with pliers; another had used Super Glue to repair a crown. Paul Rowland, a warehouse worker from Derby, in central England, was at least smart enough to take “a good swig of whisky for the pain,” before using pliers and thread to pull out his own troublesome back tooth last month, he says. “It hurt like hell for a couple of seconds,” 52-year-old Rowland recalls. His post-op pain relief? “Another swig of whisky.” …

Rowland insists he’s suffered no ill effects. And it’s only the second tooth he’s ever lost as an adult. But why take fangs into your own hands? Like most of those surveyed who owned up to self-treatment, Rowland has found it difficult getting professional treatment, because of a shortage of dentists offering services through Britain’s decades-old, taxpayer-funded National Health Service (NHS). There were 21,000 dentists available to NHS patients in England in March this year, almost a quarter more than the number drilling and filling a decade ago — although around 500 less than a year ago. Hundreds of dentists quit the NHS for more lucrative private work before revamped NHS working arrangements came into force in April last year.

Among those said to be using a private dentist is Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who reportedly had his teeth whitened to improve his appearance on camera. According to the Guardian ,Dr. Mervyn Druian’s promises to turn your teeth up to 14 shades whiter — for a fee. But it costs.

Framed on Dr Mervyn Druian’s waiting room wall is a two-page puff piece from Vogue. This is a dental surgery with a press kit. ‘If you’re splashing out for Prada,’ it reads, ‘why not splash out on your smile!’ The number of people buying porcelain veneers – at around £600 per tooth – has risen 144 per cent in the last year, while demand for tooth-whitening, at around £500 a pop, has also rocketed. Teeth, ladies, are the new handbags. They’re sparklier and stronger, and about 80 per cent less likely to be nicked. Bargain.

Besides obvious contenders for a glow-in-the-dark smile (Hollywood A-Listers), less glamorous types are choosing to bleach out their imperfections. See Gordon Brown. The new Prime Minister visited Dr Druian in his London Centre for Cosmetic Dentistry last year, though they insist, repeatedly, that he was there for non-aesthetic surgery. He emerged hours later to run the country with a dazzling smile.

For those without the funds, Wite-Out, together with the channel-lock pliers and superglue remain an option.

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