New research suggests that eight per cent of people in England have attempted do-it-yourself dentistry, either because they did not want to visit a dentist or were unable to get an appointment.
Researchers for the consumer watchdog Which? questioned 2,631 adults and found that an estimated three million people in England have resorted to such measures.
Popular techniques include pulling teeth with pliers (26 per cent), popping an ulcer with a pin (19 per cent) and using glue to stick down a filling or crown (11 per cent).
Jenny Driscoll, health campaigner at Which?, said that the findings show how "desperate" some people are to relieve their dental problems.
"Everyone should have access to good quality dental treatment so it's worrying to see so many people resorting to doing it themselves," she said.
A recent report by the NHS Information Centre claimed that the number of people who had seen an NHS dentist in the last two years had fallen to under 27 million.