Rolling Stones’ Guitarist Details Fear of Dentists

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Rolling Stones’ Guitarist Details Fear of Dentists

January 06, 2011
By: DrBicuspid Staff

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards cites trips to U.K. National Health Service dentists in his youth as the source of his lifelong fear of dentists in his new autobiography, Life.

As a child, Richards’ parents would bribe him to go to the dentist with the promise of a new toy after an appointment. He recalled experiences in the late ’40s and ’50s of being strapped down in a chair while a dentist in a red rubber apron operated a belt-driven drill on his teeth as “sheer hell.”

The rock star developed “a mouthful of blackened teeth” by the 1970s as a result.

Dentists of the era were often ex-military and had little patience, according to Richards. He believes that patients then were underanesthetized because gas was expensive and that dentists were similarly motivated by higher pay for extractions than for fillings.

“So everything came out. They would just yank it out, with the smallest whiff of gas, and you’d wake up halfway through,” he wrote.

“It was the only time I saw the devil, as I imagined,” he noted.

Copyright © 2011

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