A desperate Bradford woman got a friend to pull out her tooth with a pair of pliers after failing to find a dentist prepared to treat her.

Forty-five-year-old Diane Hunter said she was plagued with tooth ache for two years before taking the drastic measure to remove her back tooth six months ago.

Miss Hunter, who is currently staying with a friend in Sir Issac Holden Place, Listerhills, Bradford, said: "Last year I tried all over for a dentist and could not find one.

"In the end I just got really drunk and got a friend to pull it out with a pair of big pliers. There was lots of blood but I just needed the tooth out - it was causing me great pain and it still is."

She says she tried every avenue she could think of to find a dentist prepared to carry out the work on the NHS.

"I have tried lots of times to get a dentist but as soon as you hear of a dentist taking on new patients there are always hundreds of people in front of you in the queue," said Miss Hunter, who has not had her teeth examined by a dentist since her early 20s.

"I phoned the NHS helpline and went to Bradford Royal Infirmary but the only thing I was ever offered was Paracetamol for the pain.

"To start with I tried to remove the tooth by tying a piece of string around it and attaching it to a door and kicking it shut, but that did not work.

"I know what I did was drastic but I didn't have any choice."

Miss Hunter, who videoed the DIY dentistry on her mobile phone, says she is still plagued by dental problems and many of her other teeth are now loose but she still can't find a dentist.

However, she says she will not resort to such drastic measures again.

"I was going to do it again but I showed a nurse at the doctors' surgery what I had done and she said it could cause a heart attack," she said.

Miss Hunter's problems highlight the difficulty faced by many people trying to find treatment on the NHS.

Bradford Council's Health Improvement Committee last night called on the primary care trusts to do more to publicise how people should find an NHS dentist and how to obtain emergency and out-of-hours care.

Last month local dentist Mark Edwards, treasurer of Bradford's Local Dental Committee told the Health Improvement Committee the district needed another 30 dentists to cope with the numbers wanting to access NHS treatment.

And problems with access to NHS dentistry are expected to get worse when new contracts come into force on April 1.

Dentists across the district are unhappy with the new terms being imposed on them and many are expected to further restrict access to NHS treatment or quit the NHS for good.

A spokesman for the district's primary care trusts, who are responsible for dental services said: "If you are not registered with a dentist and need emergency NHS dental treatment call NHS Direct on 0845 1203 200."

She said people calling the service would be assessed by a nurse to see how urgent the problem was and then offered an appointment at an access clinic either the following day or in the evening, depending on what time of day they called.

The clinics, which are staffed on a rota basis by local dentists, are held across the district specifically for people who urgently need to see a dentist but are not registered.