private dentist edinburgh EH3

30 Year Celebrations – Some Memories!

It is now 30 years since Yann and Gilly took over the dental practice in Chester Street from Mr Stead Woodburn.

There was one surgery to begin with, Yann and Gilly each worked half the day elsewhere then the other half in the new surgery.

Mr Woodburn was a great dentist who could do the most amazing large fillings. The patients had been well looked after, although it wasn’t long before we introduced a hygienist to help improve gum health. We were focused on preventing problems from these early days and we saw hygienist care as an important part of that.

It took us time to get to know all the patients and this is when we learned how important it is to have this time and make good relationships. We have always loved to communicate our passion for good dental health, to make treatment as pleasant as possible, and to explain what we were doing.

Here’s the memories from one of our longstanding patients!


Dear Yann and Gilly and team

I would like to add some history , which might interest you – or I hope not bore you.

I was born in Edinburgh, in Drumsheugh Gardens in 1947 and spent my first few years in a comfortable top-floor flat in Glencairn Crescent. My parents were patients of the dental practice in Manor Place, a partnership of Dr A ( Sandy?) McGregor and his junior, Mr Gerald Moore. The surgery was on the ground floor of the house which was otherwise Dr McGregor’s dwelling. He had a caretaker in the basement and Dr and Mrs McGregor lived on the first and second floors. There was no receptionist. You simply walked in from the street, and sat in the waiting room, which overlooked Manor Place. Chairs were placed around two sides of the room, the centre of which was occupied by a large museum-style glazed display cabinet, in which were arranged a number of Victorian and early 20th century dental surgical implements. Looking back, they resembled items which might have been used by the Spanish Inquisition. As a five and six -year old , accompanying my mother for treatment, these pieces of equipment scared the life out of me. I still recall their appearance with a sense of dread.

In the mid-1950’s, we (my parents, two sisters, and me) moved to St Clair Terrace in Morningside, but we remained patients of Gerald Moore. Dr McGregor had retired and Mr Moore moved – house and surgery – round the corner to Chester Street. Just like his predecessor, Mr Moore had his surgery on the ground floor and lived with his wife and daughter on the two upper floors. He was a gentle man in every sense, although he seemed strangely addicted to what he called “association football “. He dressed immaculately – always the same – striped trousers, as would be worn with coat and tails, a white shirt with a dark tie, and a white linen double-breasted jacket, always neatly pressed. His surgery, as with the previous Manor Place surgery was on the ground floor at the back of the house. The front room, again, was the waiting room, but the fearsome display case was replaced by a coffee table which carried superior magazines such as Country Life and The Tatler. In the surgery, however, was an instrument of even greater terror than the hand instruments on display in the Manor Place cabinet. This was a vast drill , set up like several anglepoise lamps, with cranks and joins which enabled it to be manoeuvred in to every possible position. On the outside of the contraption, there was system of cables and pulleys and strings which were driven by an electric motor which Mr Moore operated by foot. The whole machine appeared to hover over the chair, and you – the patient – had to climb past it in order to get in to the chair. Mr Moore stood as he operated , and the patient was in a seated position, not lying down. The was no dental nurse. Mr Moore mixed his own amalgam on an emerald green glass slab. There was no local anaesthetic, but Mr Moore applied copious quantities of Oil of Cloves to relieve the pain. To this day, I struggle to watch “ Marathon Man”….

In the early seventies, I moved to London, and returned to Edinburgh five years later. Mr Moore had retired and had transferred several of his patients, including me, to Mr Woodburn, whose surgery was directly opposite at number 2 Chester Street. Here was a genial man , who gradually replaced the mechanical drills and other horrors with compressed air machines and local anaesthetic. At last, a visit to the dentist no longer held me in a state of fear. In addition, Mr Woodburn had a chuckling sense of humour – which Yann has continued – and dental appointments moved from being treatments to treats ( almost !)

One day about 30 years ago, when I was on a routine visit , Mr Woodburn said “ I’m going to pack it up. There’s a young couple who are going to take over the practice – named Maidment – I think that you’ll like them “

He was right !

You know the rest !
I hope to see you on Friday if I am in Edinburgh. But please forgive me if I don’t make it. Have a great afternoon, and congratulations !




Thank you so much for these memories! We would love some more if anyone else would like to share them with us!

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