You know what it's like. One minute you're smiling sweetly at the nice lady in the blue static press dress, the next you're horizontal, with a funny taste in your mouth.
And then, somewhere behind you, the noise starts.
It gets closer. And closer. You feel the vibrations pass through your bones, onwards and up to your...
And that's when you feel it. The metal tip, spinning at speed, honed to the finest point as it makes contact with your molar (or bicuspid or cumulo stratus or something). That grinding of the drill as it starts to break through the enamel. Little splinters of your body fleck off into your mouth, all washed down with something that in no way whatsoever is going to prepare you for the pain that's about to follow. Suddenly you're Dustin Hoffman and all you can think of is please don't be drunk, don't be stoned, don't slip, please know what you're doing.
Which for over 600 South Londoners, unfortunately turned out to be a terrifying reality. We say terrifying because we're not allowed to say that the thought of this happening to you is so damn cheek-clenchingly horrible you won't be able to shit for a week. Turns out that between 2002 and 2003, one Mojgan Azari allowed her unqualified boyfriend to work in her dental practice, drilling and filling teeth. And, as you can imagine, he didn't do a great job. Or as The GDC put it:
This caused the patients considerable distress and inconvenience.
That's a bit of an understatement when you've earlier seen the words: without local anaesthetic and expensive fillings that crumbled within days, not to mention that it cost the NHS £180 000 to fix. Now, not only are we sure that the NHS can't really afford to be throwing that kind of money around to pay for mistakes; but we also hope that those who undermine our faith in a health service that's meant to make us healthy, suffer some of the worst prison indignities since Billy Hayes came up with a small business venture. It's the teeth. The teeth! Don't these people watch movies?
Azari was struck off the register (which we know is worse than it sounds, but shouldn't they be defrocked like priests?) and jailed for 12 months, her boyfriend for two years. Well, that at least is a good thing, but perhaps no consolation for those who were seen in the seven months since she was first warned about it.