Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Killer dentists I have known

When I was a kid we visited dentists and doctors only when we needed attention; there were no well visits or preventive checkups. Often dentists and doctors operated drop-in businesses out of store fronts. Some dentists even offered extractions "with" or "without numbing agents."

The first visit I can remember was when I was a freshman in high school. I walked five blocks to a neighborhood dentist because I had a toothache. Oh my gosh! It hurt unbearably. I probably didn't have the extra dollar for the Novocane. That OLD guy nearly killed me.

Next dentist visit was when I was 17. I unwrapped the yellow paper wrapper and foil off a stick of Juicy Fruit gum, slid it into my mouth, and screamed in pain when I bit down. I walked to a different dentist, a few blocks from home. He was probably in his forties. Nothing unusual about him. Soft-bodied, round-faced guy. Two rooms, separated by a floor to ceiling curtain. After he yanked my tooth, he asked, "Is there anything else I can do for you?" I shook my head. He prodded. "You in any kind of trouble? I can take care of that, too in the back room."

I mumbled, "No."

He looked into my eyes, and asked, "You sure?"

I wasn't even sure what he meant until years later...when I discovered my dentist, who had been married at least three times, was a father. Glennon Engleman died in prison, a convicted sociopath and murderer. This guy was a serial killer.

He believed his one true talent was killing people by various techniques: gunshot, bombing, bludgeoning... and having absolutely NO REMORSE. He murdered for insurance money, and because he was bat shit crazy. 

My girlfriend went to him and was in the chair numbing when there was a knock on the back door. He left the room. A loud, threatening shouting match ensued with a male about an unpaid murder-for-hire debt.

My next dental exam was in Alaska when my ex husband was in the army, and I was pregnant with our first baby. The dentist said I had an abscessed tooth, but he was hesitant to treat me, because the military base had no X-ray equipment, and also a shortage of antibiotics. IMAGINE THAT! He said extracting it could kill me. But after much pleading, he yanked another one of my molars. My face bruised and swelled as a result of his twisting and tugging.

I was scheduled for my OB appointment later the same day. The nurse was aghast when she saw me and questioned me as if I were an abused woman. I'm not sure I ever convinced her one of her colleagues did the damage.

Upon our return home, I began regular dental visits, most of them routine and uneventful with Dan Patrick O'Brien, DDS. After twenty years of being his patient, he sent his patients a killer letter. "Mary and I have decided to retire and move to Colorado. We are leaving tomorrow... "

Another memorable visit happened about twenty years ago. Young male dentist. Steve Branham, DDS, married man, with photos of his three children and beautiful wife posted all over his new office. He examined me and then broke the news: my bridge (which had originally replaced lost molars) was broken and needed to be replaced. When he said, "$1,500, I cried. He asked what was wrong. 

"I'm falling apart: head, shoulders, belly, knees and toes."  Poor young man didn't know how to handle me, so he sent in his receptionist. It about killed me to hand over our vacation money to him so he could take a nice vacation that year. He sold his practice and we both moved on.

I am scheduled for my dental check up soon with my young, #1 dentist in St. Louis, MO

Dr. Holly Ellis and her team. They are a supportive, fun and friendly group of professionals. 

They kill me with kindness and laughter. 


Kathy's Klothesline said...

A serial killer!!!! I had a similar run-in with a dentist when I was 14. He shoved a bite block in my jaw and proceeded to ask and answer his own questions, all the while laughing like a maniac. Maybe it was the same dentist serial killer and he escaped from prison and took up practice in a small rural town in south Georgia ........ or not.

Val said...


I have a terrible fear of the dentist. Now I have an actual reason! Or a dozen...

Sandi said...

Linda? Your dentist was a serial killer abortionist who fixed teeth too? My God. This got really weird, really fast, and then it got worse. I think you should avoid dentists. All of them. It's probably better to just have bad teeth. I want to give you a hug!

(Hoping this is all poetic license...please.)

Sandi said...


That's me screaming. I just got your message that this is all true.

I am just...freaked out. But. Since you have met a serial killer and survived, I think you should not be afraid of anything ever. You are obviously being watched over.

I am still screaming, though.

Kim Lehnhoff said...

I had a dentist with hairy hands when I was a kid. Icky.

I have also had really good dentists... they wore gloves. :)

tracboy2 said...

So glad you found a great dentist! You sure had some experiences.

Lynn said...

Loved hearing about all your killer dentists!

Connie said...

Oh my gosh! A serial killer--that's terrifying. What a wild bunch of experiences you've had in the dentist office! I'm grateful mine have all been fairly routine and uneventful.

Susan said...

Oh gosh. I never had a serial killer dentist, that's for sure. Had a really rough dude as a kid and I always said I suffered the most pain of my life in that dentist's chair. Now, however, I have a dentist who is gentle, kind and extremely professional. Yes, he's expensive but I'm willing to pay the price for NO PAIN. Guess we all have dental horror stories. ha hahah But not serial killer stories. Oh dear. Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

After those experiences, it's a wonder you ever stepped foot into the office of another dentist.

My craziest experience with a dentist: A guy who sang opera and cracked jokes while he worked on my teeth.