Once every six months a visit to the dentist is scheduled. Today was the day. A short walk up the road, a signature on a form, wait to be called into the surgery. Our new dentist is from Romania, her name is Indian. She told OH she loves her job having spent lots of time in her dad's surgery since she was about four years old.
An x-ray later, the news is 'receding gums' and gel on a particular tooth with instructions not to eat/drink anything for half an hour.
Then memories stir as I think back to my experiences over the years.
1950s the one size fits all solution was extraction. It was commonplace for women to have all their teeth removed during pregnancy. My mother had dentures.
There was no notion of regular visits to the dentist. People went when in pain. One time I went and mother was told my front (milk) teeth were full of abscesses. So, no anaesthetic and I had them removed. Because I had been 'good' the dentist gave me sweets on the way out.
So for what seemed like forever I had speech problems, 's' in particular.
1950s - 1960s and the school dentist gave me nightmares! Extractions under gas and a rubber mask forced over nose and mouth; but I couldn't hold my breath long enough and the sickly gas rushed into my lungs. That's when I learnt to intercept the appointment card as it came thro' the letterbox and after a while they ceased.
1970s and at long last a good dentist recommended by a friend who had been at Leeds Uni with him. Mr Cross had come first in his year, his wife was nurse/receptionist. Both were gentle friendly souls. So now I visited the surgery regularly and the ravages of previous years were undone.
1970s away from home and still returned to visit Mr Cross.
1980s and another dentist this time in Woolton, another lovely person, so reassuring. But, without warning he sold up and retired. The guy that took over came as a nasty shock, rude and impersonal, he only wanted private patients. I lost patience with him and left.
So, no dentist...and I'd noticed a surgery a few minutes walk away. I've been with them ever since. But since the original partner left, there have been a series of other dentists one after another. African, Polish and now Indian/Romanian. It's gone from Mr W and Mr B to being part of another company. Mr B remains, but sees only private patients.