A picture of an old man with no teeth pulling a silly face arrives in the post. A note from your retarded cousin in Blackpool perhaps? No, it's a check-up reminder from Lloyd Jerome, funky dentist.
It's difficult to imagine how dentistry can be made trendy, but Lloyd is certainly trying. The waiting room of his Glasgow surgery doubles up as an art gallery that's open to the public (so now you can go to the dentist even when you don't have to). Foot masseurs and hypnotherapists are on stand-by if a patient gets panicky, aromatherapy oils mask nasty chemical odours and the whole surgery is painted in bright colours. ''There is no reason why dentists should look and smell the way they do," says Lloyd. "If a hair salon can have a calm and relaxed atmosphere, why not a dental surgery?''
To crown it all, Lloyd has installed hi-tech mid-treatment entertainment. ''I was having a real problem securing a television on the ceiling and my brother came up with the idea of using a Viewmaster and plugging it into a VCR.'' Britain's first virtual reality dental headset was born. Patients have the choice of watching films, playing computer games or experiencing a video starring their own teeth and gums. Lloyd inserts a small camera into the mouth and gives a step-by-step guide to their treatment.
Glasgow is not a city renowned for its dental care. It recently came 170th out of 174 in the British Dental Association's list of places with the healthiest teeth, and Lloyd feels a pang of regret about dropping out of the NHS two months ago. ''There are new regulations that state that you can only use the cheapest method for any treatment. I couldn't see any way of working within those limitations, so now I've gone totally private.'' At Lloyd's surgery it costs pounds 15 to get your teeth cleaned and between pounds 100-300 for root canal work, depending on its complexity. When you consider it costs at least a fiver to go to the flicks and the rising cost of art, it's really a bit of a bargain.
Lloyd Jerome is at 200 Bath Street, Glasgow (tel: 0141 552 7722)
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies