I have never lived in a place where there seem to be so many cowboy dentists. We’ve only been here 3 years and we’re now on our 4th. The first one didn’t fix my filling – just told me to take antibiotics in case of infection.

How ridiculous and stupid. :crazy:

So I went to somebody else, recommended by someone. He was much better, although his premises are tatty, as if there hadn’t been a lick of paint for some time. But I started ‘needing’ crowns, which are expensive even for an NHS patient. I accepted it, however: lying on the dentist’s chair with your mouth propped open is not a good situation for opening a discussion.


Then this dentist simply stopped coming to work. I would turn up and a harassed receptionist would say ‘he’s only just phoned in and said he’s not coming in today. He’s ill.’

He seemed to be ill an awful lot, because it kept on happening. And it happened when I went in for another filling, this time on the other side of my mouth.

So I abandoned it, and went to somebody more local, and was uneasy as I walked past all the rubbish piled in the front yard. The receptionist seemed to be learning to be an assistant, because the dentist was telling her all the time what to do, and she didn’t seem to have a clue. And the filling he put in was fixed with a light … so I went home and googled it, I discovered it was the sort of thing used for baby teeth. And of course it came out anyway.

So we phoned somebody else whose judgement we trust, and she recommended a woman dentist.

Which is how I came to be sitting in a nice, clean, organised waiting area yesterday, wondering why the receptionist, who was also the dental assistant, was running around and having sotto voce conversations with the dentist.

I found out when she told me, sheepishly, that they had no injections left in stock without adrenalin. I had told them the previous week that in the past, injections with adrenalin had made me faint.

She apologised profusely and offered to reschedule, but I knew by then I had to have 2 fillings, the second a deep one for a cavity in the back top molar which had developed under a present filling. :**:

So I decided to take the risk and have the injection, and I didn’t faint, and the dentist struggled to dig out the old filling and put in the new, and my mouth was open so wide for so long :yawn: that my jaw ached. Wished I was like a snake, with a double-jointed jaw. Then my head would spring open, and be as easy as pie!


When the injection finally wore off, my poor old gum ached and hurt and generally felt very sorry for itself. I rinsed it round with paracetamol solution, and ate mushy food, and managed to take my meeting last night.

24 hours later, it still hurts … toothache[1]


28 thoughts on “COWBOY DENTISTS

  1. Now you’ve got me REALLY puzzled! Try as I might I can think of no reason why adrenalin should make you faint – if anything, it should wake you up from a faint. If it was me then I would be looking elsewhere for an explanation …adrenalin gives me the JITTERS!


    1. I can’t understand it either. When I nearly fainted my then-dentist said ‘oh, it’s probably the adrenalin in the injection’. I’ve tried to avoid it ever since, but decided to take the risk and have it this time, as I’m aware that injections etc have moved on over the intervening years. I did tell the current dentist that I found it very strange, in that adrenalin usually has the opposite effect – she just smiled (she’s not very communicative!)

      By that stage, anyway, I would have been quite happy to be out cold so that she could finish her ministrations on my teeth without my knowing …


  2. Good dentists are also hard to find round here – NHS ones that is….. don’t know about private. I’ve tried some dodgy ones and then found a wonderful lady who was brilliant… and then she moved away. 😦 At the moment I am in dentist limbo….

    I am sure that deep filling will settle down after a while… you poor love! Teeth are nightmarish things when they are upset and complaining.. makes you just want to rip them out with pliers or something!



    1. thanks, dt! And it’s been really busy this weekend as well, with meetings and things – normally I can rely on the weekend to get my chores done! And all I want to do is to howl LEAVE ME ALONE MY TOOTH HURTS BOO HOO …

      time to wag off to the igloo and sniffle.


      1. Dad is in the nursing home…… mum is haveing pangs of guilt now and then. Brother and I are feeling awful about it – brother took in his pyjamas last night and apparently dad was really piteous and wanting to come home… was to be his first night there…

        Not reconciled to the whole thing really…. but must hang on to that feeling in Mass about it that time. Gulp.


  3. OH gill, I know exactly how you feel – I don’t actually think there is any worse a pain than tooth pain – you just dont know where to put your head!. I had a couple of bad dentists here when I moved to the Midlands and the second one reduced me to tears when he tried to drill where I had an abcess. I phoned my cousin who is a dentist in the North and he sent me some antibiotics and I booked to see him. Twenty something years later I still go to my cousin which is a four – five hour long trip there and back but have never had any problems since I have gone to him. He was shocked at the mess my gums were in and it took a while to sort them out but they are great now. You have to have faith in your dentist its like your doctor so I do hope this one is the one for you. Take care and NEVER put heat to a throbbing tooth as if it is infected it will spread (something I never knew, and always did) :):) xxx


    1. It still is very painful if I drink anything either hot or cold! I’m hoping this dentist is OK – she did warn me the back molar filling was very deep and it would hurt for a few days, and she is efficient, so I’m going to stay with it for a while. Thanks for your comments, Barmac!


  4. sounds terrible. I would ask among friends, till you hear of someone that sounds like he’s reliable. I would go pretty far to make sure I had a good dentist. Never heard the term ‘cowboy dentist’ before. What exactly does that mean?


    1. Well, we call people ‘cowboys’ here if they do a poor job and try to cheat others, eg ‘cowboy builders’.

      Yes, the present dentist comes by personal recommendation from somebody we know. She did warn me that the very deep filling in the back tooth would hurt for a few days, so I guess I will just have to put up with it.

      Thank you for your advice, Shimon.


      1. seems a little unfair to cowboys. They spend their time caring for the herd, showing sympathy to the animals… sorry the back tooth is still hurting. Hoping for a speedy recovery.


      2. Thanks, Shimon. It’s still hurting … I don’t know why the word cowboy became a pejorative term. Perhaps something to do with all those westerns and cowboys shooting before thinking!


  5. We were seven years without an NHS dentist in this area. Towards the last year or so of our dentist’s work here, he just about gave up, doing the bare minimum that the NHS paid him to do. It was part of a pattern to part-privatise dental care; the trouble is, it went too far, leaving swathes of communities across the UK with nothing. You, I think, I are seeing another aspect of this misguided policy.

    Is there any way to check that the dentists are registered and if, so as what? I learned from a relative there are different levels of dental expertise on offer after he was told by a dentist he’d been seeing in North London that his/her qualification only allowed certain treatments to be executed by that person. The more complex stuff had to be done elsewhere.

    As for hygiene…… who these days is checking on the health issues?

    Poor you.


      1. My relative was treated by NHS on the occasion mentioned, but that dentist could only deal with a certain skill of treatments.

        Have you got a university training dental department within reach? It might be worth thinking about. Students need practice; it is however, all done under close supervision. At least, that was my experience many years ago.


      2. I’m prepared to go with this one for the time being, but if there are any more hassles that is one route I will certainly consider. Thanks for the suggestion.


  6. Oh dear my hubby found the same problems with our old dentist when we moved we found a new one who luckily knew what he was doing and fixed the problem his surgery is always clean and tidy I think if the place looks scruffy keep well away 🙄


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