Aberdeen woman told she is too heavy for Kintore dentist chair
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Aberdeen woman told she is too heavy for Kintore dentist chair

Feb 01, 2024

Sammy Dey, who is 26 stone, said the incident left her in tears.

An Aberdeen beautician has been left devastated after a Kintore dental practice said she was too heavy for its chairs.

Sammy Dey, who weighs 26 stone, was told the chairs at Kintore Dental Practice have a maximum limit of 25 stone. Staff said she had to go elsewhere for dental work.

Ms Dey said the episode left her in tears.

“I felt horrible,” Ms Dey, 27, said. “The appointment was the day before my birthday, and I sat in the car afterwards and cried.”

Ms Dey said she went to Kintore for a routine check-up and was asked how much she weighed.

The dentist said the chairs at the practice had a weight limit of 25-stone because of insurance. If the chairs broke it would cost £40,000 to replace them.

Ms Dey was allowed to have a check-up that day but was told future dental work would have to be undertaken at a dentist on Frederick St in Aberdeen, which has higher weight-capacity chairs.

However, this week Ms Dey was told Frederick St was at capacity and not taking new patients.

She has so far been unable to find another NHS dentist and is facing having to go private. She has been a patient at Kintore Dental Practice for 10 years.

Speaking to the P&J Ms Dey said that because of her size she is used to having to navigate the world differently to other people.

For example, she uses seatbelt extenders on aeroplanes.

However, she said that until the incident in Kintore, she had “never, ever been subjected to what is I guess discrimination.”

“I am under no illusion that I am outside of, quote-unquote, society’s norm,” she added. “I’m just saying that the situation definitely could have been handled differently.”

Kintore Dental Practice declined to comment.

The practice is owned by husband and wife Will and Judith Doherty, who also own Inverurie Dental Practice.

According to the Dental Defence Union, an association that helps insure UK dentists, more practices are encountering incidents in which patients are at the limit of how much a dental chair can safely support.

Dentists have a duty of care to patients while using equipment beyond manufacture guidelines can invalidate liability insurance, the DDU said.

Morven Gordon-Duff, principal dentist and practice owner at Deveron Dental Centre in Huntly, said four of her surgeries have ADEC radius 500 chairs. The chairs have a weight limit of almost 36 stone but can cope with “much more”, the Huntly dentist said.

The dental centre has never had to decline a patient because of their size. But a fifth surgery within the practice, which is operated by the NHS, has a bariatric dental chair with a weight capacity of 71 stone, or just under half-a-tonne.

“If this service was required, we would ask the [NHS team] for permission to use it and so our patient would be able to be treated by their usual dentist, within the same building,” Gordon-Duff said.

Ms Dey said she was speaking out about her experience on behalf of plus-sized people who did not share her own body confidence.

The beautician said she is happy to call herself “fat” and is a proud, plus-size, queer girl.

However, she added that at 26 stone she is not at the extreme end of the plus-sized scale – or as she puts it: “I’m not documentary-worthy”.

“I swim four times a week, I live my life completely without any hassle,” she went on to say. “I’m not saying I’m better than anyone, or less than anyone, but I just know that I’m not alone in this.”

Meanwhile, her beautician clinic in Union Point, Aberdeen, has chairs that can safely hold plus-sized people.

She said dentists should be able to cater for plus-sized people looking for regular treatment.

“Someone said to me, if you’re going in for a kidney operation, you’d be expected to lose a couple of stones.”

“But I have nothing wrong with me. I just want routine dental care.”