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Bristol teacher forced to glue his own dentures together amid dentist shortage

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A teacher told Sky News he has resorted to gluing his own dentures back together amid a shortage of NHS dentists.

Norman Stephenson, 66, was one of hundreds of people who queued for treatment at Bristol’s newest NHS dental practice, St Pauls.

The office said they enrolled 1,500 people in two days after opening on Monday, but warned they will soon have to turn newcomers away.

Speaking to Sky News on The UK Tonight, the teacher said he’s been taking desperate measures to keep his dentures together while trying to get seen at a practice.

He told Sky’s Sarah Jane-Mee that he has been using hard plastic glue to repair a split in the false teeth, saying: “I tried several super glues but they were too brisk and they kept snapping every time I tried to bite into something.

“I discovered this hard plastic glue that kind of fits with the make-up of my dentistry. It had this movement so it wouldn’t break. I’ve had to use that ever since.

“But every couple of days or so, it finally breaks. So I have to go and do an operation over and over again.”

Mr Stephenson said that in his “desperate situation,” he originally tried to talk to his BUPA dentist who moved practices across Bristol.

Norman Stephenson, 66 from Bristol, who had to superglue his dentures back together. The UK Tonight with Sarah Jane-Mee.

The 66-year-old added that he was prepared to drive to his dentist, but said: “I was not allowed to see her and they were just talking about private treatment. So I gave up on that.

“I was told to phone 111, I phoned 111 and they sent me to several dentists, not just a BUPA organisation, gave me numbers, and I tried those and all they were interested in was private patients.

“Some of them said they had enough NHS patients, and really couldn’t take any more, and some just weren’t interested. But I just couldn’t get through.

“So I just practically gave up really. The reason why I’d done that was because these dentures were split in two. I’m an artist and a performer and I need to have my lovely smile.”

Dr Kunal Patel, clinical director of the Love Teeth Dental Practice, also told Sky News: “The reception staff, the team, the dentists, we want to help people like Norman.”

Read more:
Britons ‘pulling own teeth out’ because they can’t access NHS dentists
Dentists to be offered cash incentives to treat NHS patients

Dr Kunal Patel, clinical director of the Love Teeth Dental Practice. The UK Tonight with Sarah Jane-Mee.
Image:
Dr Kunal Patel, clinical director of the Love Teeth Dental Practice.

The dentist then said: “It’s not the clinics’ choice not to provide NHS treatment. If we’re an NHS practice, we have a certain quota, that we can only see a certain number of patients in.

“If we reach that quota, to see someone like Norman, what I would have to do is call up an existing patient of mine and say ‘Mrs X, do you mind not being a patient of mine anymore?'”

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