GRANDAD Tommy Bennett was stunned when a routine X-ray revealed a gun pellet had been lodged in his jaw for more than four decades.
Tommy, 51, a roofer, had been undergoing tests before dental treatment.
“I always set the alarms off at the airport and now I know why,” he said.
He realised the airgun pellet must date back to 1970, when he was 10, and was accidentally shot by a pal as they messed about with a weapon – but he didn’t, at the time, think the pellet had gone into his face.
Doctors have told Tommy, of Teal Farm in Washington, that the bones had grown round the pellet and he now faces a tricky operation to have it removed.
Recalling the airgun incident four decades ago, Tommy, a grandad-of-three, said: “When we were young ones, anyone could walk about with an air pistol or a spud gun.
“We were just messing about when the gun went off. He said he was aiming at my foot but it went just under my eye.
“I didn’t think the pellet had gone in and my aunty put a bandage on the wound. The next day it was swollen up and I had a black eye.”
It was not until Tommy was undergoing checks to see if he could have dental implants fitted that medics at Newcastle Dental Hospital spotted the pellet.
He said: “I’ve had a bridge in my mouth for 14 years and a couple of months ago it actually snapped.
“I had to go to the dental hospital to check my teeth and gums were strong enough for the bridge.
“I saw the medical technician and he sent me down for X-rays.
“The woman who was doing them asked if I had a stud in my ear. I said I didn’t and she sent me back to the technician with the X-rays and the first thing he turned round and said me was ‘Have you been shot?’.”
Tommy added: “I’ve told all my family and I’m a hero with the bairns. My six-year-old grandson was asking if I’d been in the war.”