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The Tale of a Sadistic Dentist

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It Started with Tooth Pain

This is a little story from the 1950s about a dentist who was a sadist. This is a true story. It took place in my small hometown when I was eight years old.

I remember, in those years, that a front tooth had been hurting every time I took a drink of cold water or tried to eat ice cream.

When my mother took a look, she could see a cavity near the gum line on one of my eye teeth.

My small home town had no fluoridated water, which might have been the reason for my dental problems then and for all my life. But, Mom and Dad didn’t have good teeth either, so it’s hard to say if the cause of my dental woes began with genetics or with public water. Nonetheless, there it was, an ugly early cavity.

Dental Care Was Affordable in the 1950s Economy

In those days, a visit to the dentist cost about five US dollars. For that, you got a check-up. If you had decay in a tooth, that would be five dollars, too, a cost that was affordable in that 50s economy where fuel for your car was about 20 cents per gallon and a loaf of bread cost about the same. That was a sound economic system…dollars paid for work done. No gouging by dental insurance providers (there weren’t any), and the dentist, like the doctor, charged what the patient could pay. At that time, my mother was earning 65 US dollars per week. Enough to put food on the table, put a little away for savings, meet our needs for clothing and shelter, and pay the dentist.

I don’t remember the dentist’s name. What I do remember is that my mother made an appointment for the afternoon so that I could walk to his office directly from school, and that she gave me a five-dollar bill to pay for the filling. I guess I’d seen the dentist before for a check-up, because I knew how to get to his office by myself. But what happened during that cavity filling appointment destroyed any memory of having been there before.

The Visit to the Dentist

When I arrived at the office that day, with the five-dollar bill in hand, the good dentist took a look at my tooth, and started drilling. He gave no warning about pain.

At that time, both Novocaine (an injectable local anesthetic commonly known by that name) and nitrous oxide (introduced into dental procedures in 1868 and also called “laughing gas”) were common pain relief medications for filling a cavity, but this sadist said nothing about them; he just started drilling. He tortured my tooth and my psyche, and he paved the future of my dental care with fear.

As some of you know, there is nothing more horrible than the pain of a tooth’s nerve exposed and hammered at. Even today, I can feel the pain as he drilled that tooth with no anesthesia. I remember crying and screaming. I don’t know why I didn’t sock him in his groin, except that I was a “good girl”, one who wouldn’t make that much of a fuss. And I also don’t know why I didn’t wet my pants. Or maybe I did but don’t remember.

The Dentist - A Comedian?

At the end of the session, the drilling and filling done, my face streaked with tears (I can only imagine I looked white as a sheet), Dr. Jolly softly and quickly walked his fingers across my forehead, from one side to the other, and then back again. Tap-tap-tap-tap, smiling at me. He asked if I knew what his fingers were doing.

Of course I didn’t and said so.

He said, “It’s Jewish people running from temple to temple.” And then he laughed.

Was that his way of trying to make a bad thing better, through distraction? That thought occurred to me through the years. My mother was the mistress of this distraction technique: comfort a skinned knee or sore throat or broken heart with a dish of ice cream (but only after showing the kindest and most caring nursing first). But I don’t think there was any kindness in him. I think he enjoyed torturing children and fancied himself a comedian as well.

The Bad Luck of the Draw

I don’t remember anything about going home that day or telling my mother what happened. However, I never saw that Marquis de Sade again. When I’ve asked my mother what she remembers of that incident, sadly, she doesn’t remember anything.

This kind of needlessly painful and sadistic experience was and is rare in this country both then and now, thankfully so. For me, it was one very bad luck of the draw to be put in the face of that evil.

Healing the Wounds

It wasn’t until my late teens that I mustered up the nerve to see a dentist for the first time after that 1950s experience.

To help with college expenses, I’d been working part-time for a medical answering service. One of their clients was a dentist who practiced not too far away from campus. I’d never spoken to him on the phone, but I’d often spoken with his assistant and office manager: his mother. She and I got to be good “phone” friends (surely the precursor to “online” friends). One night, I confided to her about what happened to me all those years ago and what I was experiencing now. She listened patiently and kindly, while I cried on the phone.

A few days later, I was in her son’s dental chair.

And that’s a very happy, very different story.

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What Are Your Experiences with Dentists?


Jack on February 06, 2015:

I don't believe this story. I do not believe the dentist did not use Novocaine. I went to the dentist in the 50's also, and it was quite painful even WITH

Novocaine. I remember going to the dentist was traumatic, not like today when even the slightest discomfort is unacceptable and quickly alleviated by the doctor.

Your dentist may not have used enough Novocaine, or did it improperly, but drilling into a tooth is not just painful, is is unendurable. You would have bit right through the drill. Drilling teeth without pain meds is used in concentration camps, and grown men cannot endure it even for a few seconds. Your story it not true. You may believe it is, but it is not.

Barbara Fitzgerald from Georgia on October 22, 2014:

I have not experienced sadistic behavior, however I have had my teethed drilled with the tiniest fillings anyone has ever seen, to pay for my dentists needs. In one cleaning at 13, I was diagnosed with 6 cavities. I did not have another cavity for 35 years. I think he just wasted my parents money.

I have also experienced extreme pain from extreme incompetence and cheapness. A dentist using 20 year old technology on a root canal. I levitated when he applied some sort of hot branding iron to my tooth. I think he also pushed the gutta percha into my nerve canal. Moron.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on November 24, 2012:

kschweitz, thanks so much for the link about twisting teeth out. I actually went through that experience a month ago...WITH novocaine, thank God. I'm so glad you never had the childhood experiences I had.

I see we all have love/hate experiences with dentists. They make things better, but the process is pure hell for those who need more than preventative care.

kschweitz on November 23, 2012:

I never liked the dentist but never had an experience like you described. When I needed a tooth pulled they all told me that the dentist would put his knee on my chest! Not true. They twisted my teeth out. It is described here:

Of course I have had novocaine for every thing I have needed done. I can't imagine it without novocaine!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on August 22, 2012:

Julie, I hear you! Thanks so much for sharing your experience here. I suppose there was the idea, then, that the less you told the child, the better. Thanks goodness, we know better today.

Jools Hogg from North-East UK on August 22, 2012:

Sherry, I was at the dentist's last week and grateful for the injection into my gum and the roof of my mouth, no pain - fab! As a child, I had a similar experience to you but the dentist sat me down, gave me a needle in the gum and yanked out my tooth without telling me he was going to do anything - I was so shocked that I have never gotten over it and if I need an extraction in the future, they'll have to knock me out to do it!

periodontics from 4312 Woodman Ave Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 on December 30, 2011:

Thanks a great hub.

tomlee on November 29, 2011:

Very interesting.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on November 02, 2011:

ricksterK, I think you can see from the comments that you have plenty of company. Thank you for sharing your story, letting others know that they are not alone.

ricksterK from Left Coast on November 02, 2011:

I avoid dentists whenever possible. My teeth would be in far better shape if I rarely went.

When I was 10, the dentist puled the wrong tooth! After that, I had microscopic cavities that were drilled, filled, replaced, redrilled, refilled, until they became crowns. Not to mention that they stuffed mercury in my mouth. Don't eat it, but its safe in your teeth!

The profession is medieval.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on September 18, 2011:

TY for your comment, Karen. You are so right. One bad experience can put you off forever. It's a shame.

Karen N from United States on September 18, 2011:

I think that a lot of us have had bad experiences. But I can't say that I've ever had one as bad as yours. It is a shame though because one bad experience can put you off dentists forever.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on September 18, 2011:

So true, Stacie. It's a sound worse than fingernails on a chalkboard. I can't stand to hear it, even in a sit-com!

Stacie L on September 18, 2011:

well this is one of my greatest fears! The dentist scared me so much as a youngster that I cannot go near them and hear that drill til this day without shivers!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on June 15, 2011:

Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Kate!

KateWest from Los Angeles, CA on June 14, 2011:

How terrible. Sorry you had to go through that and I'm glad for modern medicine!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on June 14, 2011:

Thanks so much for sharing, eventsyoudesign. Although not as common today as in the past, there are dental practitioners out there who will pad their pockets with unnecessary treatments. Sometimes these are lessons we learn the hard way, but in your case, your dad was right on the money! And I'll bet the wool has never been pulled over your eyes since. :)

eventsyoudesign from Nashville, Tennessee on June 13, 2011:

I hope you are doing well. As a kid I was told I had ten cavities in need of filling. I said no way is this quack going to scam me. I went home told my mom. She was going to send me back, but my dad said no. He sent me for another opinion. Needless to say, I did not have ten cavities. My mom should have or the other dentist should have reported this incidence to the proper authorities. No one did. Also, fluoride does not belong in our drinking water and can cause a host of health problems. Thanks for a great article.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on March 25, 2011:

Thank you for sharing, singloi69. Indeed, those are things nightmares are made of.

singloi69 on March 25, 2011:

Not only did my dentist not use novacaine, he used reguler power tools available at any harware store or Sears outlet. I remember him pulling my wisdom teeth with a pair of vice grips. It wasn't until I got into the military that I realized he was a quack.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on March 17, 2011:

Fucsia, I think you are absolutely right about the collective unconscious. Others in these comments have said much what you did, that although they never had bad experiences, a trip to the dentist is still full of anxiety. Thanks so much for your insightful comment!

fucsia on March 17, 2011:

A terrible story! Fortunately many things are changed today. I never had bad experience with dentists but for many years I had an irrational fear of them. Maybe the collective unconscious!

Thank for sharing

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on March 10, 2011:

fastfreta, I hope there aren't any of these sadists around either. Thank you for sharing your experience...chances are that idiot, given the time that's elapsed since your experience, isn't practicing anymore.

I've never tried one of the referral services, but I imagine it's a good way to "shop" and thus avoid a potentially horrible experience.

Alfreta Sailor from Southern California on March 09, 2011:

Scary Sally, I hope there's no more like this Dentist around. Although I didn't have this experience, mine was not a pleasant experience either. I went to a dentist with a toothache, and instead of trying to save it he pulled it. I asked him why didn't he just fill it, and his response was, "I'm not in the business of filling teeth, I pull teeth." This was in the late 60's, early 70's not really sure which. Oh, by the way I got him from the yellow pages. I guess there's some merit to using the dental referral service like the one advertised on TV. Anyway Sally very good article.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on March 04, 2011:

Ah, MAGICFIVE, I wonder if there's a fine line between a sadist and a jerk? I'm so sorry you had to go through this, and I thank you for sharing your experience here.

MAGICFIVE from New York on March 04, 2011:

That must have been a truly horrifying experience! There is no pain worse than tooth pain, because it's right there in YOUR HEAD! What on earth was WRONG with that dentist,can't help but wonder? I had an experience a few years ago..not with a sadistic dentist, but let's just say with a total jerk. The whole time he was doing my root canal, he was busy laughing and flirting with the dental hygienist! Not very professional! Not only that, but he botched my root canal, because it became infected a few months later! As I said, what a jerk..and now I'm turned off to both dentists AND root canals!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 28, 2011:

I like the "shop" system and your decision-making technique. I couldn't resist looking up Dr George...there are very positive comments about her on Qatar Living. Thanks for sharing!

Dave McClure from Worcester, UK on February 27, 2011:

Here in Qatar there are lots of dentists, but they are just like any other 'shop'. You don't have to register as a patient. If you feel you need treatment or a checkup you just pick one you like the look of and book an appointment. You can ask for an estimate first if you like. The advantage of this system is that word soon gets around if one is not good or is too expensive.

I've used two and I just chose them because they had famous namesakes: Dr Susan George and Dr Mahmoud Abbas!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 16, 2011:

Mrs. J. B., what a horrible story! Whatever his thoughts might have been, his actions were completely uncalled for. Thank you for sharing your tale here.

Tinsky, thank you for your thoughtful comments. You are right when you say, "Dentists are hard enough to see..." I admit that I am surprised so many of those who commented here fear the dentist even when they haven't had a grossly painful experience. You also make a good point about getting a second opinion, especially when it appears there's serious work to be done.

Tina Dubinsky from Brisbane, Australia on February 16, 2011:

Dentists are hard enough to see without having to go through that, I can't begin to understand the trauma you went through but it must have been horrific - well written article! I've had problems with teeth issues being misdiagnosed and have learnt the hard way that sometimes it doesn't hurt to get a second opinion before agreeing with a Dentist's persistence.

Mrs. J. B. from Southern California on February 16, 2011:

I had a DENTIST in BURBANK CA on I'll say it RIVERSIDE DRIVE...... PULL A TOOTH WITH NO NOTHING... Talk about screaming.... I was so freaked out that even the receptionist was crying when I came out.. I think it was the Dentist's way of punishing me for not getting to the Dentist sooner.. His last name begins with the letter H

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 14, 2011:

Fay, I know what you mean. I was tempted to find a clip from "Marathon Man" and add it here. But I didn't want to add images to what I knew only words could evoke just as well. I had to have a pic to avoid my treasure chest avatar being the visual associated with this cruelty, and thus the diagram of the tooth. Rest assured, "Marathon Man" was on my mind, too.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 14, 2011:

Peter, I guess girls get fingers walking across temples while boys get "buck up." They are sick minds that take advantage of vulnerability and authority. Thank you for sharing.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 14, 2011:

Tony, thanks for chiming in here. I read your piece about Patch Adams and De Greek, and came away with with yet another young person's traumatic experience at the hands of a dentist. In your case the experience was tinged with a young man's sexual interests. Enough said... Folks, it's a great read, for so many more reasons than sharing dental experiences gone wrong:

I'm sorry any of us has to go through this kind of experience.

Fay Paxton on February 14, 2011:

This is an excellent article. Although, I must admit I had difficulty reading it...I kept having visions of Dustin Hoffman in "Marathon Man".

Peter Owen from West Hempstead, NY on February 14, 2011:

Brings back memories. I had a dentist who bent the needle in my gums when he gave me novacine. He asked me why I was making such a fuss and to Buck Up.

Tony McGregor from South Africa on February 14, 2011:

I have had a long and difficult relationship with dentists, I have to admit. I wrote about one such incident in a recent Hub (the one about De Greek and Patch Adams). I only visit a dentist now if there is absolutely not alternative!

Thanks for sharing your sad story.

Love and peace


Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 13, 2011:

Trish, thank you for sharing your stories. I believe (as you know, because we've talked about it in the past) that first dentist you wrote about is the same Dr. Jolly I wrote about. Ours was a small many dentists could there have been who made little girls cry for no good reason? Good for the little girl who kicked him in the shins! Wish that were me.

trish1048 on February 13, 2011:

Good morning dear friend,

Oh boy, where do I begin? Well, despite my absolute fear of the dentist as a child, I still went regularly for checkups well into my adulthood. It's something I need to do even now, but I am putting it off as long as possible, mainly because of finances.

In our hometown there were two dentists that I recall. I went to the one on Main Street. I remember being sent there for a visit, at which time I was maybe eight years old. It was the first time I went by myself. By the time I walked to his office three blocks away, I was a wreck. I remember timidly walking into his office when my name was called. I was there for a filling, and I was given nothing for pain. I'm sure I was crying, but what I remember mostly is the whirring noise of the drill and then, when he finished, I was handing him the crumpled wet dollar bill that I had been holding balled up in my sweaty fist. On another visit to the same dentist, the girl two houses down from me came along as she also had an appointment. Well, I stayed, but her name was called first, and she wasn't in his chair very long. What she had done was kick him in the shins and ran out of his office crying.

As far as a sadistic dentist, I remember going to my dentist with my mom. Apparently I needed an extraction which was something my dentist was not equipped to do. He had my mom take me to a dentist in another town. As it turned out, I needed two extractions (which I was unaware of since my mom didn't tell me then). I had a horrible experience with that man. I remember him holding the mask on my face and myself struggling to resist it. He must have won, however. My mom was unaware of what was happening as she was left in the waiting room. To this day, I remember his name was Dr. Harsh, and he was on Fairy Street in South River. I certainly hope he had a harsh demise!

For the most part, my adult experiences have been good, with two exceptions.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 12, 2011:

electricsky, the dentist wasn't having a bad day. The dentist was an evil person who delighted in torturing others. I'm glad your dental visits have been trauma-free. It's clear that you never met a sadist such as this.

electricsky from North Georgia on February 12, 2011:

Sounds like the dentist had a bad day or something. Are you teeth pretty to this day? I guess that is the most important thing.

But you are right he should have given pain medicine. I only can remember getting many, many shots of novacaine when I went to see a dentist as a child and I can remember experiencing no pain at all.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 12, 2011:

CASE1WORKER, bully for you for taking things into your own hands, or teeth, as it were. There I was wishing for a brother (Mike, above) to beat the you-know-what out of this dentist...maybe what I also needed was you for a model.

As Steph said, there's nothing funny about a sadistic dentist, but I have to admit that your one-liner caused me to laugh hysterically. Wish I had had your gumption! Thanks for the awesome comment.

CASE1WORKER from UNITED KINGDOM on February 12, 2011:

i totally agree with all you say- i got my own back- i bit him!

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 12, 2011:

Dawn, your perspective is so valuable. You are there, day-to-day, practicing compassion as well as dental medicine. I know that you and your practice are not alone in making a dental experience as trauma-free as possible.

I am very grateful, and I hope other readers are as well, for the concrete advice about slowing down the speed of an injection. Not only is this good information for the patient in terms of how the anesthetic works, but it is information a patient can use to speak for himself. We still live in a world where the "white coat" is the authority, and many of us learn early on not to question that authority...sad but true. What you've given a patient is solid information to open a door to communication with the dentist. If the dentist doesn't want to slow things down, then she's not listening with compassion. If that's the case, as far as I'm concerned, it's time to get up out of the chair, refuse to pay the bill, and find another dentist.

Again, many thanks for sharing your expertise and caring here.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 12, 2011:

Steph, thanks for your heartfelt comment. I agree, NO ONE should ever be subjected to that kind of treatment. What is sad, and frightening, too, are the results of the polls above. Granted, they don't represent any kind of a significant sampling in terms of numbers or controls, but just the idea that younger folks have experienced this trauma is stunning. I do believe that there is a reason for everything, whether you discover that reason in your lifetime or not, but for the life of me, I can't see why there should be any kind of a reason for sadism.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 12, 2011:

MsLizzy and Hollanda,

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences here. Truthfully, when I wrote this Hub I did not expect this volume of comments, so many of which speak of horrible experiences.

Both of you bring up an additional issue which is not in the scope of this Hub but nonetheless is something needing to be aired: the expense of both preventive and restorative care, whether you are living in a national health care system or not.

Again, thank you for your thoughtful comments. They are more pieces to the puzzle of why an appointment with the dentist is so difficult for so many.


Dawn on February 12, 2011:

I have worked in the dental profession as a certified assistant for over 30 years. These stories are so distressing, yet quite common. We see patients that have avoided dental care for years due to a bad experience as a child. By the time we see them, their dental problems are usually severe. I just want to let everyone know that there are dentists who put patient comfort first. We review every procedure thoroughly and we stop immediately if the patient starts feeling any pain. Many are more afraid of the injection than the treatment. Let your dentist know to inject SLOWLY and the discomfort will be minimal. When you administer the anesthetic quickly, the tissues cannot absorb it fast enough and this is what causes the pain. When our patients are comfortable, it is much easier for us to do our work. We all need to slow down and be considerate of the anxious patient. Afterall, we in the profession are working for YOU. Find a dentist who cares. There are plenty of them out there. Please don't delay your visit until the tooth is no longer restorable or the cost is beyond your means. You can spend a small amount on regular check ups and fillings OR thousands on teeth that were neglected.

Hollanda on February 12, 2011:

Here in the UK, we have no real dental system. We have a supposed National Health Service dental scheme, which is a joke as the NHS is supposed to be free for people who pay into it through National Insurance. But for the dentists, we have to pay. There are three levels - one for basic check ups, one for moderate work done (fillings, etc) and one for heavy work done, such as root canals and crowns fitted. It is actually cheaper (and less work) for the dentist to simply remove a tooth than it is to work at it and save it. Result? People lose teeth. Of course, people who are "in the money" (in a recession?!) can pay to go private, but that costs HUNDREDS or THOUSANDS of pounds, which normal people just cannot afford. Of course, private dentists are paid more, they spend more time with patients and they do better work.

I had an experience as a teenager of a dentist who drilled into one of my back teeth and filled it with no anaesthetic. IT HURT and the filling was pretty atrocious. The result? My tooth has now all but crumbled away, leaving the filling exposed, which hurts my tongue every time it rests on that tooth. I am too terrified to visit a dentist to get it sorted, and I know I will probably lose that tooth. I can not afford to go to any kind of dentist to pay nearly £200 for a root canal and a crown. So I am stuck with it and cannot get any help whatsoever. This is the way things are in the good old UK.

Stephanie Marshall from Bend, Oregon on February 11, 2011:

Nothing funny at all about a sadistic dentist traumatizing a patient of any age! So sorry you had to go through that.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on February 11, 2011:

I guess I've been very lucky. The dentist our family saw during my growing up years was very nice. I just found the experience intimidating and fearful on general principles.

My main problem was with the actual novocaine injection. I abhor needles, and to this day, I'm a big baby if I have to have blood drawn.

That first dentist, however, was very, very good, and would even squirt some of the novocaine out onto your gum to numb it a little so you didn't feel the needle stick so bad.

Then, after I was married & had kids of my own, we got another good dentist, whose motto was, "We cater to cowards."

I remember once I had a deep cavity, and he had to drill a lot--he gave me a nerve block--way back in the jaw (hate those the most!)..after I "numbed up," he began working, and even with the nerve block, I was still feeling a bit, and winced. He instantly noticed, stopped drilling, and put 2 more injections right under the tooth he was working on.

Now, I am in a position of not being able to afford dental care at all; even a cleaning is more than I can pay. I am dependent upon free medical services from the county. They do not offer full dental care. They don't believe in prevention. They don't believe in fillings or trying to save teeth. The only dental care they offer is extractions. Thanks, but I'll manage without.

Luckily, I have strong teeth (I was going on 15 years old when I got my very first cavity). At 62, I still have a few teeth with no fillings in them. Currently, I have a tooth that developed a problem: part of the tooth broke away from an old filling. It did not expose nerve, so was not painful, but it did make a sharp edge that was scraping my tongue. Rather than visit the county butchers, I simply bought a do-it-yourself temporary filling kit from the drugstore. Almost a year later, that patch is still holding. If it breaks down, I'll just put another DIY patch in place.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 11, 2011:

swedal, thank you for sharing. Unfortunately, these painful childhood experiences are ones that we never will forget. As for his hitting you in the stomach, whatever that was about, it is not forgivable. I'm glad you went on to find a dentist who is good for you.

swedal from Colorado on February 11, 2011:

My current dentist is excellent, though I did have a bad experience as a child also. I remember I was about 5 or 6 and gagged a little while the dentist was working and he hit me in the stomach. I will probably always remember it though I would rather forget.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 11, 2011:

Camlo, thank you for your rich comment. You've addressed many aspects of this story by relating your own experiences. Hat's off to the boy who would be brave, who then grew into the man who didn't have to prove himself again in that way.

As for the "son of my phone friend", that story will be told another day.

This sadistic dentist that I wrote about surely affected other children. I still keep in touch with friends from my small home town; perhaps some of them will have some information about him. I am sure he is in his grave now, and if he isn't he should be.

Yes, the poll results are revealing. Perhaps the times have changed. But let's revisit the polls a year from now, when more folks have read and responded.

Camlo De Ville from Cologne, Germany on February 11, 2011:

Hi Sherri!

Except for having a piece of tooth left in the gum after an extraction a couple of years ago, I've never had a bad experience at the hands of a dentist.

As a child, our neighbour was a dentist and family friend, so I often got after hour treatment - I've had tooth problems since I was 7, although never with my front teeth. To prove how brave I was, I always had fillings without an injection. I couldn't do that nowadays, though. :-)

I bet your sadistic dentist had been cruel to other children, which probably lost him his job in the end. Your Hub certainly goes to show how childhood experiences can scar us for life. It was a stroke of luck that you ended up in the chair of the son of your phone friend. Actually, I almost expected another line at the end of the Hub telling us that you married him. Did you? That would have made an ironic ending. :-)

I find the vote interesting so far - tells us that times have changed.

Another great Hub!

All the best, Camlo

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 11, 2011:

FP, you've got lots of company. Most don't like going to the dentist, self included! *hugs*

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 11, 2011:

Mike and Cindy, I never stumbled on the "licked" word, taking it for the colloquial of "beat". Maybe that's an Americanism. But since you both brought it up, "licked" does conjure up an interesting image. LOL.

Mike, I never misunderstood your intentions. :)

mikeq107 on February 11, 2011:

Well ok sally now were family, anyone mess`s with you is messing with me...I,ll be like your shadow and stephen king will write novels on our exploits LoL...Thanks for the complement SallY !!!!


mikeq107 on February 11, 2011:

Ok I,ll never live that one down Cindy LOL

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 11, 2011:

Mike, I see clearly what I'm missing, and that's a brother. If I had one, I'd want him to be like you. The punishment you are willing to dole out along with your pals, especially the public aspect of it, fits the crime. How'd you know there's a bit of the Irish in me? :)

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 11, 2011:

drbj, I've seen enough dentists to wonder what makes them tick. With the exception of the gentleman to whom I referred at the end of the story, they've all been a bit odd. One who was both a dentist and a friend for many years was an odd mix of caring and slapstick. There wasn't anything he wouldn't do to make a dental visit as painless as possible, but once you were in his chair with your mouth stuffed with cotton and instruments, he was on stage delivering a borscht-belt comedic monologue he must have practiced in his mirror to get right. I never asked him what his motivation was for becoming a dentist. I'm almost tempted to look him up and pop the question.

Cindy Lawson from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on February 11, 2011:

It must have been horrific I agree. Thank goodness visits to the dentist are not quite so bad thesedays, even at their very worst.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 11, 2011:

Cindy, that's the most horrible story I've ever heard. It's shocking on so many levels I can't quite wrap my head around it. Thank you for sharing it here. My heart goes out to your grandmother...that she would take such radical action on herself because of what that hack did to her is both terrifying and heartbreaking.

Cindy Lawson from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on February 11, 2011:

Just popped back and saw Mike's comment. Can't stop giggling now at the thought of Mike 'licking' him where it hurts. :D

mikeq107 on February 11, 2011:

kicked not licked ..just saw my typo :0)

FlyingPanther from here today gone tomorrow!! on February 11, 2011:

Great hub again sally.I remember as a kid I had to go to the dentist and back then they would put you to sleep with gas or gaz LOL anyways I never liked the dentist so i do try to take care of my teeths.

Love always.


mikeq107 on February 11, 2011:

I would have licked him where it hurt..then dragged him out into the street, put him in stocks in the village square when the pubs where over flowing. At which point I would send word to all my Irish drinking buddies in said pubs That Ivan the terrible is in Ireland for a visit and needs to be taught a lesson because he tortured one of our own, so bring lots of projectiles and free drinks afterwards...Ok Thats all..nice one sally..sorry you went through that :(

mike :0)

drbj and sherry from south Florida on February 10, 2011:

I'm not surprised that so many visitors, Sally, are fearful of visiting a dentist. The fear of dentists is right up there at the top of the list of phobias with the fear of public speaking.

Dentists don't appear to be an extremely happy breed either. Many of them that I know personally became dentists because they couldn't get into medical school.

Cindy Lawson from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on February 10, 2011:

A horrible tale. I am lucky enough to never have had a bad experience in a dentists, and I when I used to work as a Dental Nurse back in the 80's I never saw any horrible experiences either. However, my Grandmother had a terrible experience when she was actually quite young, (around her 30's or 40's I believe), when a dentist physically pulled her tooth out, along with a large chunk of her gum.... he then threw it out of the window into the gutter. She was so traumatised that in spite of her families protests (she had beautiful teeth), she insisted on having ALL of her teeth extracted by a different dentist, and had dentures fitted so that she would never have to go through that kind of experience ever again. Perhaps I should add that this would have happened prior to 1940,and was not a recent event.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 10, 2011:

Darski, I understand exactly what you are saying. There comes a time when enough is enough.

Darlene Sabella from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ... on February 10, 2011:

I am scared of airplans and Dentists, and now I can't afford to go, so I am happy and I have decided to never do those things again...I like being old...scary story, great hub, rate up, love & peace darski

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 10, 2011:

Neil, I had a sneaky suspicion you'd be back after your appointment. I sense a kind of giddiness...could be the drugs, but I think it's the experience of compassionate dental care that is such a far cry from the butcher shop. Sleep well, my friend. ~Sherri

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 10, 2011:

Frieda, thanks so much for sharing your husband's experience here. His trauma is shared by many. I'm not sure that's any consolation for him or anyone else, but he certainly has company. Something needs to be done to make dental care a positive rather than a negative experience. For some, it is positive. But for many, it is not, and what can be done to turn that around?

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 10, 2011:

Alekhouse, I understand what you are saying. We constantly make associations between what happens to us and the causes of those happenings. I'd have done the same as you.

Eiddwen, I wonder sometimes, too. Why does someone become a dentist or a proctologist or a gynecologist? These are not places I'd like to spend my time in, on, viewing, or even discussing. I think that's a subject for not just another Hub, but for some serious research into why people choose these careers. I am SO glad you never had a horrible dental experience!

Peg, in a small town all those years ago, kids were pretty much turned loose to explore. Along with that exploration came the confidence of their parents that the children could do a lot by themselves that today's parents have reservations about. Then, I don't think parents looked at a dentist's visit or a routine doctor's visit as anything they had to be there for: if there was a problem discovered at the visit, the doctor would call the parent. It was a different time. As for what your husband experienced, that was a tragedy above and beyond the needless infliction of physical pain. Thank you so much for sharing.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 10, 2011:

Deni, we believe that doctors and police, those who wear the uniforms of authority, are to be trusted and we teach our children to trust accordingly. That's what makes their sadistic behaviors so heinous.

I believe parents knew that this dentist was known for frightening children, and I also believe parents trusted that authority and believed that he was doing the right thing. At the same time, he was the only dentist in town.

It's complex and tragic. About that OB who carved his initials into a woman's flesh, that one should have spent the rest of his life in prison.

proudgrandpa from Charlotte, NC on February 10, 2011:

The wonders of modern dentistry and an empathetic dentist. I bet I had less that 1/10th the pain today that you had with that one cavity. This guy is good and by the way, Life is also good. What a neat community of hubbers that follow you. Actually what neat hubs you always write. Thanks, NEIL

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 10, 2011:

Neil, truly, I hurt for you today! Say, I've never been known for my timing, under any circumstance, and you just proved that to be so.

Duchess, I empathize completely with your fear. And it doesn't get any easier. Even though I have had some wonderful dentists, just the thought of an appointment triggers an anxiety attack. Woe is us!

Micky, thanks for chiming in here. Sadism doesn't belong only to dentists, for sure.

H,h, yes it does maim for life, most despicably so when experienced as a young child. Thank you so much for sharing.

Viking, your comment touched me deeply. Writing this brought up terrifying memories; there was no barrier I could put up between the rational and the emotional. Reading this must evoke memories, too. Thank you for reading through and sharing where you are today because of where you had been in the past.

Sherri (author) from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 10, 2011:

Sabu, I'd say you are lucky indeed...having the best of both worlds. :)

munirahmadmughal, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Feline, yes, I did throw out a little teaser at the end. I'm working on it! But at the pace I do things, it might get published next February. *sigh*

Frieda Babbley from Saint Louis, MO on February 10, 2011:

Wow. Unbelievable. My husband has a similar story. His teeth got chipped during a routine cleaning. Would have been in the 70's that it happened to him. I think he was 10? Didn't see a dentist again until he was almost 40. Great story, Sally, thanks.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on February 10, 2011:

Sally - Your story is painfully familiar to the story my husband told about his young experiences at a dentist. To this day he is fearful of dental treatment and as a result has neglected his dental hygiene.

As a small boy he rode his bike to the dentist where this sadist would drill unmercifully on a little child without numbing the tooth properly. When he screamed out in pain the dentist would call him a baby, an emotionally damaging label for a young boy of 7. I was most surprised that a child would be sent unaccompanied to a doctor without a parent present for emotional support.

Eiddwen from Wales on February 10, 2011:

Hi what an awful dentist!!! I often wonder why some of these people decide to go into these professions in the first place.

I could almost feel your pain then but then quite thankful that i couldn't really!!!

Thanks for sharing

Take care


Nancy Hinchliff from Essex Junction, Vermont on February 10, 2011:

Wow, I can't believe this! Guess I've had good experiences with dentists cause I've only been hurt once and that was with a woman dentist, causing never to go to a woman again. I know one careless woman dentist doesn't mean that all are but I just didn't want to take the chance.

Jenifer L from california on February 10, 2011:

This is a horrific story! And also makes me wonder why nobody ever stepped forward.

Perhaps it has something to do with wearing the white coat and our preconceived notions about the people who wear them. After all, isn't it true that people who wear white coats are in a highly respectable profession, white coats shouldn't be questioned because they always know more than us, and white coats "do no harm"? This is not always the case.

Your hub reminds me of an OB doc who had a habit of carving his initials on women's stomachs after closure of c-sections as a way to sign his art work. This was fairly recently--not back in the 1950s. The hospital dealt with all complaints in a very hush-hush manner for as long as it could. Somewhat similar.

As always, it has been a pleasure reading one of your hubs. Why do I feel slightly sadistic now?

L M Reid from Ireland on February 10, 2011:

Yes my teeth are a disgrace because of my bad experience years ago too. I am 54 now and adults didn't listen to children then. My first dentist was not sadistic just a normal adult for the time. But the needle did not work so basicilly he was drilling with me in pain too.

Myself and brother have this thing were the needle must be applied 3 times before we are numb enough to have treatment with out pain even as adults.

But I still have this terrible fear of dentists and only go when absolutly necessary.

Very good story about your terrible experience. It brought back memories for me too.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on February 10, 2011:

I had a few experiences like that and it definitely maims for life.

Micky Dee on February 10, 2011:

Great write! I've not experienced the sadistic dentist but I've seen some sadistic doctors. God bless!

Duchess OBlunt on February 10, 2011:

It seems there are "quacks" in every profession in every generation. Too bad they give a bad name to the good ones out there.

I have a personal fear of the dentist chair. Each and every time the palms sweat through the white knuckled grip, the knees lock, I close my eyes and try not to breathe. The older you get, the harder that is on the system....LOL

Great story

proudgrandpa from Charlotte, NC on February 10, 2011:

Ditto,Ditto and Ditto,

I also can't remember my teen years "dentist" but I remember thinking that I had taken a wrong turn and wound up at the butcher shop instead. Just to add a little irony to this comment, I have a 9:15 appointment this morning fro 2 root canals. Great timing Sherry. NEIL

Feline Prophet on February 10, 2011:

Most people are petrified of dentists, and with good reason, it would seem! I've never had a bad experience with a dentist - but that still doesn't mean dentists rank among my favourite people on earth! :D

ST, you've left us wondering about the 'very happy, very different story' at the end...when are you going to tell us? :)

munirahmadmughal from Lahore, Pakistan. on February 09, 2011:

"The Tale of a Sadistic Dentist".

The hub is informative and based on personal experience. At the same time it shows the advancement in knowledge and new techniques to help reduce the miseries of mankind by science and technology.

There is also food for thought in the incidents told in this hub. The human body is a favour of God. For every favour thanks giving is must. God is Independent of any need. The lawful, correct and proper use of a favour is its thanksgiving.

Pollution whether internal or external is to be avoided. In the case of teeth the brushing of the teeth daily is best prevention against all such later troubles.

Postponement adds to trouble and in the case of teeth it adds amnifold and become unbearable. Hence more attentiveness is needed concerning them.

Dentists as a whole have been very polite and courteous.

May God bless all.

sabu singh on February 09, 2011:

That is quite a tragic tale, ST. Such unpleasant experiences stay with us through our lives.

I have been fortunate with my dentists. The current one is a young lady who, apart from being very gentle, is also pleasing to the eye! What else could one ask for? LOL.

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