People are pulling their own teeth while dentists are on coronavirus lockdown

YouTube videos. A pair of pliers. Whiskey.

Desperate people are taking measures into their own hands with some extreme “DIY dentistry,” as practices remain shuttered during the coronavirus lockdown.

The American Dental Association has recommended that dentists stay closed for non-emergency procedures until April 30. Especially with personal protective equipment in such short supply, staying closed is “in the best interest of our dental patients and dental team members,” says ADA President Chad P. Gehani.

Similar guidelines are in place in other countries, too. But that hasn’t stopped the some people from pulling their own teeth. Billy Taylor, 33, used a pair of pliers to yank out his infected tooth after he was denied an appointment. The pain had become too “excruciating,” he tells news service SWNS.

The father from the UK attempted to call his own dentist but didn’t get through. And when he called emergency services, he was told he “shouldn’t go in until it was restricting my breathing.”

“My face was swelling and I had a migraine on that side,” he says. “It got really bad that night and the swelling was getting worse. I was pretty wound up.”

So, armed with some YouTube videos, a pair of wire locking pliers and a couple of shots of whiskey, he got to work. He had his 11-year-old son Leo keep an eye on him in case he passed out from the pain.

Let’s just say the procedure was a success. But, “the process was bloody painful. It was hideous,” he says. “I probably wouldn’t recommend it, unless you know what you are doing. You could crush the whole tooth.”

Situations like Taylor’s are becoming increasingly common as dental practices remain closed, according to British Dental Association Chairman Mick Armstrong.

“Whenever access problems emerge, people with toothaches take matters into their own hands,” Armstrong says. “It’s inevitable many desperate patients will resort to ‘DIY dentistry’ unless we see rapid action from government.”


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