"Unhygenic Dental Practice in Bedfordshire"

(as the patient),

I went for the first time to see an NHS dentist today. The practice was in a residential house in a small town in Bedfordshire. I had phoned the NHS direct for advice on where to find an NHS dentist and this was the only one available in my area, approximately 5 miles from my home.

When I was called from the waiting room by the dental assistant I noticed she was wearing gloves, she kept the same pair of gloves on throughout my visit to the practice, opening doors putting an apron (which had blood and other peoples saliva on it) on me, writing notes on a piece of paper - cleaning the table! Cleaning a piece of equipment to go in my mouth in a very dirty sink with a very dirty and discoloured nailbrush! With the same pair of goves on she handed this equipment to the dentist. When I came in to the room the dentist had a pair of gloves on and was writing some notes. He excused himself as he explained he needed to finish what he was doing. He then took off his gloves and without washing his hands put another pair on, from a dusty box on a dirty windowsill. I was shocked by what I was seeing and started looking around the room. Next to me(in the dental chair) was a small table. On the table was lots of dental equipment mixed together with small pieces of rubbish (looked like old fillings?) in a small tin tray was a small heap of drill bits, some looked rusty/dirty all unorganised. From this table the dentist picked up an aerosol can to spray air in to my mouth and a small detal probe and mirror. He checked my teeth, reading out to his assistant. He told me he needed to take an x-ray at which point the assistant hands him the equipment, previously cleaned with the dirty nailbrush and puts in in my mouth. I try not to be sick but am horrified of what is happening. The Dentist presses the button and a beep emits, the dentist is still in the room, the assistant outside. He returns and removes the equipment from my mouth and asks me to wait a few minutes in the waiting room.

Sitting in the waiting room the dentist returns to call another patient, as they leave I make my excuses to the receptionist pays £49.60 for the x-ray which seems rather expensive to me, but I just wanted to get out of there. As I leave I feel terribly upset and after returning home I telephone my old private Dentist 60miles from my home to arrange an appointment. The private dentist cost me almost two months income as I am a student but if this is what the NHS has to offer I would rather not eat.

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