It’s a man’s life… in the British Dental Association


in Oxford

Nervous as I (very seriously) am about seeing a British dentist, going a year or more without a professional cleaning and examination is just not a good idea. Can anyone who is a long-term resident of Oxford point me towards a dentist that is:

  1. Capable
  2. Covered by the NHS (which covers students staying over a year)
  3. Taking patients

If it’s impossible to get all three, condition two may have to go. Most of my teeth have had some kind of cavity preventing coating applied to them. It comes in a little syringe, looks blue, and tastes very sour. They use what seems to be a powerful ultraviolet light to harden it. A dentist that can check on the status of those coatings and replace ones that fail (which seems to happen on a tooth or two a year) would be ideal.

[Update: 21 July 2006] It seems my Canadian dental insurance carries over to the UK. Consider criterion two stricken.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Anon July 19, 2006 at 10:38 am

The stereotype of bad British teeth (immortalized in “The Big Book of British Smiles”), is mostly a matter of prior generations. That said, a few members of the Royal Family are working hard to keep the tradition alive.

Claire July 19, 2006 at 9:05 pm

There is nothing at all wrong with British dentists! They have one of the most rigorous training programmes in the world, and many, like British doctors, are London-trained and world class. Most people with ‘bad teeth’ in the UK (and what a crude North American sterortype that is) are those who were born in the 40s and 50s, when the NHS was just getting started and the country was stoney broke! So really fear ye not the English dentist’s chair. High quality service awaits…

Sorry- rant over. The above said, you will probably find it very hard to find an NHS dentist who will take new patients. This is a tabloid hobby-horse, and for once actually reflects reality. A check up shouldnt be too expensive though, and even with the NHS it would cost about a 20GDP fee. Ask Wadham who they recommend.

Milan July 19, 2006 at 9:09 pm


Thanks for the information. I am naturally hesitant to ask Wadham; after all, they recommended NatWest and it has turned out to be the worst bank I have ever had the displeasure of engaging in any financial transaction with.

Milan July 19, 2006 at 11:04 pm


Also, we do know that at least some members of the BDA are involved in truly nefarious activities. Just look at this page, starting with “Cut to bookshop. A bookseller is standing behind the counter.”

Bookseller Oh, ah, good morning, (starts to bundle him out then stops) Wait. Who sent you?
ArthurThe little old lady in the sweet shop.
Bookseller She didn’t have a duelling scar just here … and a hook?
Arthur No.
BooksellerOf course not, I was thinking of somebody else. Good morning.

Antonia July 21, 2006 at 4:53 pm

Wish I could help – my own dentist just sent me a letter saying they were setting up shop, so I’m hunting myself.

We are sort of screwed

I am still looking for someone I can reregister with.

Antonia July 21, 2006 at 4:54 pm

That should have read shutting, obviously.

Milan July 21, 2006 at 5:04 pm


I am pretty sure the dental insurance from my father’s office covers me until I am 25, provided I am a full time student. I do need to sort out whether it covers me in England (I suspect so). If so, the NHS criterion can be safely dropped.

. January 31, 2011 at 7:20 pm

The men whose skeletons were unearthed at Towton were a diverse lot. Their ages at time of death ranged widely. It is easier to be precise about younger individuals, thanks to the predictable ways in which teeth develop and bones fuse during a person’s adolescence and 20s. The youngest occupants of the mass grave were around 17 years old; the oldest, Towton 16, was around 50. Their stature varies greatly, too. The men’s height ranges from 1.5-1.8 metres (just under five feet to just under six feet), with the older men, almost certainly experienced soldiers, being the tallest.

This physical diversity is unsurprising, given the disparate types of men who took the battlefield that day. Yet as a group the Towton men are a reminder that images of the medieval male as a homunculus with rotten teeth are well wide of the mark. The average medieval man stood 1.71 metres tall—just four centimetres shorter than a modern Englishman. “It is only in the Victorian era that people started to get very stunted,” says Mr Knüsel. Their health was generally good. Dietary isotopes from their knee-bones show that they ate pretty healthily. Sugar was not widely available at that time, so their teeth were strong, too.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: