DENTISTS aren’t always the most popular of people.
For some patients, the very thought of a visit to the dentist’s chair is akin to pulling teeth.
But that’s certainly not the case in Woodhouse in Sheffield, where hundreds of people are down in the mouth because they’re losing not just one dentist but two – man and wife dental surgeons Rachel and Roger Limb.
The couple, who first met while studying at Charles Clifford Dental Hospital in Sheffield, have been treating patients at their Balmoral Road surgery since they graduated in 1978.
But on Friday the couple called it a day.
Not that they’re too long in the tooth to do the job. Roger is just 60 and his wife is three years younger.
Either way, their patients weren’t going to let them go without a proper send off.
The couple were presented with hundreds of cards, cakes and gifts from well-wishers who bid a fond farewell to the popular pair who have played a major part in keeping a community smiling with confidence for so many years.
Barnsley-born Roger and Rachel, originally from Derby, have operated, drilled, scraped and polished for countless thousands of patients over the decades.
And both have stood by their principles and remained NHS dentists despite many in their profession opting to become private.
In the early days of their marriage and their dental practice Roger did most of the treatments.
And Rachel used her expertise on a part-time basis.
On top of that and bringing up their two children – Katie, who is now 31 and a vet, and David, 28, a sales executive – Rachel also saw to all the paperwork and attended to the upkeep of both the books and the pretty garden outside the surgery.
Roger says he’ll miss the banter with his patients and dental nurses.
“It pays to have a sense of humour in our job,” says the lifelong Sheffield United supporter. “Especially when you’re treating Wednesdayites.”
Both Roger and Rachel have been moved by the many tributes they have received from people for whom they made a trip to the dentist into something that became almost a pleasure.
Rachel said: “When it comes to patients we have always been sympathetic, empathetic and, in the case of Roger’s jokes, sometimes pathetic.
“It’s nice to think we have been appreciated and will be missed.”
The couple say they have seen many changes in dentistry over the years.
“In general,” said Roger, “people do look after their teeth better nowadays, though sadly there are exceptions.
“But perhaps the biggest change is the amount of bureaucracy we dentists have to deal with these day. It’s ridiculous.”
In retirement the couple, who live in Ecclesall, intend to devote more time to their hobbies of photography and scuba diving.
They also intend to spend time at their recently acquired holiday home in Robin Hood’s Bay near Whitby.