I still remember vividly the frightening trips I was forced to make to the school dentist every year. In fact I am sure I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to this day. I wonder if I could sue the NHS, or Hereford Road School ? I must have a word with one of those no-win no-fee lawyers.
Every six months or so a little green ambulance would arrive at the car park opposite the police station first thing in the morning. Unmarked so that poor unsuspecting children would not realise the tortures they were about to encounter. I think the proximity to the police station was to deter people from escaping the treatment. Once inside there was no getting out, you were strapped into a chair. The dentist modelled himself on Dr. Josef Mengele, with a blinding lamp fixed to his head. All I can ever recall him saying was “open wide” and then he tried to suffocate me with a mask and some smelly stuff called chloroform. The next thing I knew was waking up with blood in my mouth and a hole where a perfectly good tooth used to be.
Is it any wonder that I grew up not liking dentists !
In my secondary school most of my teeth survived except for a few involuntary extractions during my reckless pursuit of a rugby ball. Then when I arrived at Sheffield University, my final dental comeuppance came when after weeks of toothache I finally went to see the doctor with a mouth full of ulcers. I was given some antibiotics and a sealed letter to take to the university teaching hospital in a weeks time.
A week later the ulcers had gone but not the tooth ache, so I reluctantly turned up at the hospital. I handed my appointment letter to the receptionist who opened it, smiled and sent me the sixth floor. A much nicer welcome than the school dentist I thought. I was surprised when I got out of the lift to find my self surrounded by teddy bears and lots of toy peddle cars. All the patients were no more than 10 years old and they all had there mummy’s with them. When my name was called I went into a consulting room to be greeted by another Dr. Mengele and a worshipping hoard of dental students, including a rugby playing mate called Miles, who I had accidentally hit in training only the week before. Dr . Mengele read out my letter to them all and they all smiled. I had been sent to Pedodontistry (children’s dentistry) because of my “ pathological fear of dentists”. Very funny. Miles was only too pleased to ‘help’ with the necessary extraction.