After avoiding the dentist for the best part of a decade, Leslie Mason was in pain and knew he needed some work.
He needed two rotten teeth and four roots removed but could not afford to pay £400 for the work and was dreading the agony he was about to endure.
He mentioned his dilemma to his friend John Ridlington, a qualified hypnotist, who revealed he had been discussing the potential of hypnosis to a dentist he knew.
A quick check confirmed Mr Mason could act as a guinea pig to test the theory and have the dental treatment for free.
Dentist Dr Bhavin Bhatt removes Leslie Mason's teeth as hypnotist John Ridlington looks on .
He underwent a two-hour procedure without anaesthetic last month and afterwards reported feeling nothing more than a 'little sting'.
'It was incredible. There is no worse pain than that inflicted by dentists but I didn't feel any,' said Mr Mason, 54, a DIY store worker from Colchester, Essex.
'The dentist had to dig away at the rotten roots that were right up into my jaw.
'There isn't anything I wouldn't have done under hypnosis now. It's incredible.'
The father-of-seven, who is married to wife Anne, 53, has previously used hypnosis to quit a 40-a-day smoking habit.
He added: 'Not everyone is as susceptible as me to hypnosis but it's an area that should be exploited further. There are so many benefits.'
Mr Mason last visited to a dentist before the recent check-up had been in 1998.
During the operation on May 20 he had two upper right molars removed along with their roots, plus two roots from teeth that had been pulled in the 1980s.
Mr Ridlington spent 45 minutes getting him into a relaxed state of mind beforehand by getting him to visualise his favourite thing - historic battle re-enactments - to distract his mind from the pain.
Mr Mason also had to imagine a dial numbered one to ten, one representing no pain and ten pure agony.
Whenever he felt a twinge, he mentally turned the dial back to one.
Mr Ridglington, 59, from Dunmow, Essex, said: 'We all have the ability to control pain with our brains.
'Our brains control everything about our bodies and our subconscious is the most powerful part - it controls our breathing and the blood pumping through our veins.
'Hypnosis taps into the subconscious mind. It's all about mind over matter.'
The operation was performed by Dr Bhavin Bhatt, who runs Smile and Wellbeing dental practice in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire.
He said: 'The hypnosis was 100 per cent effective. We're now exploring the possibility of offering tooth transplants under hypnosis.'
Studies have shown that using hypnosis instead of anaesthetic can reduce recovery time after surgery.
It also removes the risk of possible side-effects from anaesthesia.
But the technique's long association with stage acts has kept it at the margins of mainstream medicine.
Hypnoanaesthesia, where the patient enters a deep trance state and is told they will feel no pain, has been used to help burn victims manage their pain and ease fears over surgery and childbirth.
The British Society of Medical and Dental Hypnosis said even heart operations had been carried out under hypnosis.
In April, hypnotherapist Alex Lenkei had an 83-minute operation without anaesthetic on his arm to treat osteoarthritis.
Afterwards, he revealed he had been aware of his surgeon making a four-inch incision into his wrist and chiselling the bone to remove a tendon.
He added: 'I heard everything he was saying to his assistants and anaesthetist but there was no gossip. It was a shame - I was hoping to hear something juicy.'