Dentistry Discourse

Monday, November 15, 2004

Grinding to a Halt

"Hey, you're already here!"

I looked up from The Georgia Straight to see Missy arriving with her new boyfriend in tow. Designer bags and beautiful boys were her trademark. This one was particularly fetching, especially with her new lemon yellow Prada purse.

"Hello, hello -- yes, I thought I'd read the paper and enjoy my coffee before you arrived."

"Would my arrival ruin the enjoyment of your coffee?" she teased.

"Are we going to talk about dentists again?" I smirked.

"Well . . . Rob here actually needed a reference."

She wasn't kidding. I sighed as they made themselves comfortable in chairs across the table from me.

"Okay, did you let him know about Dr. Monty?"

"Oh, yes, yes -- and he's had a look at her website with all the procedures she offers and he's even made the appointment -- and seen her."

"Really? Well, I see my work here is done. Shall we order more coffee?"

Rob smiled. "I needed a mouth guard because -- "

I turned to Missy. "Does he bite?"

Missy smiled coyly. "Only in ways that I need him to, darling." We all burst into laughter. "Actually, he grinds his teeth and it's really hard on them. Aren't they darling?"

"And on you." He swiveled towards me. "The noise keeps her up at night and she hasn't slept. We can't have that, now can we, sweetie?" He leaned in and whispered some endearments that had her rolling her eyes and giggling.

I decided that I needed a double-chocolate fudge brownie in addition to the second cup of coffee. The morning would prove to be a long one.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

It's All in the Gums

Laura's large frame filled the entrance to *The Epicurean* for a moment, then, in two bounds she was at our regular table.

"Well," she announced with energy, "I know it's been a while since we three last met!"

"Yeah, no kidding," I smiled. "I'm not even sure where to start."

"I do!" Missy declared. "Did you go to our favourite dentist?"

"Uh-huh," she replied. "And I was right to feel --" Laura paused to order her coffee from the waitress lingering at the table. "I was right to check into things. It could be very serious if I didn't take care of the bleeding gums. "

Missy leaned forward, wide-eyed. "Get out! What did she say?"

"Well, first of all, Dr. Monty is cool. Very practical, down-to-earth, no-nonsense."

I leaned across to Missy and said in a loud stage whisper. "Didn't we tell her that a few times over?"

Laura rolled her eyes. "Here's the thing -- because of her informative website and the before and after page (, I understood that infected gums carry bacteria that often bleed and, when they do, the gums could allow for bacteria to enter the bloodstream. That could eventually lead to blocked artieries and cause heart attacks."

"Oh geez, Laura," I groaned, "Is this really an appropriate topic for a Saturdany morning after we haven't seen each other in a month?"

"Yes, dear friend!" she grinned. "I care about you two!" she placed one of her hands firmly on each of our arms. "And I'm so grateful for your tip that I wanted to make sure I gave one back to you."

"Does that mean you're not treating us to coffee?" I teased.

"Yeah, alright," she burst out laughing. "I'll do that too."

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Bleeding Hearts, Bleeding Gums

Laura sat glumly at the table at The Epicurean waiting for Missy to arrive. I had made a few attempts at conversation, but it was no use. I knew better -- if Laura didn't want to talk, it was no use trying to get her to do so. Mules had nothing on her for stubborness.

That explains why I felt immediate relief when Missy walked through the door, smiling as brightly as usual.

"Well, it's been a while," she declared and dropped herself into a chair at our table. She launched into what the past two weeks had been like, until she realized I was making eyes at her in Laura's direction.

Missy paused. She looked at Laura intently for a moment, then asked, "Something wrong, sweetie?"

Laura muttered something virtually incomprehensible -- but I thought I heard her say "Dr. Monty."

"Hey, did you finally make it to see her?" I asked.

"No," she said through gritted teeth.

"Why on earth is so bad, dear Laura?" Missy looked at her in the most irresistable doe-eyed fashion. It was useless to resist such charm.

"Because I have bleeding gums!" Laura wailed loudly.

"I'm sorry, Laura," I cooed, "but I can't figure out why that would be so bad."

"It isn't bad for the moment, but -- but -- "

She looked as if she were about to shed a few tears -- I couldn't believe it. Laura, my dear cynical friend, had an emotional bone in her body.

Laura sighed when she saw my look of incredulity. "It's just that it can be serious, if I don't take care of it. And, and . . . "

"My dear Laura," I replied, laying a hand on her arm, "if there's anyone who reassure you and offer you good treatment, it's Dr. Monty. It's not enough to visit her website. Go and see her -- I know you've been putting it off and you didn't believe me and Missy, but give her a try. You won't be disappointed."

I ordered us lattes and we kept on chatting.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

A New Friend Comes to Town

Laura had just recently moved to town. The three of us -- Missy, Laura and I -- were now meeting together at Cafe Calabria and, every other weekend, at the Epicurean. We sipped coffee or iced limonata and Missy and I gave Laura pointers about what she should do and see in the city. We cited our favourite places to buy clothes, shoes, and groceries; where she should see movies; what bars we liked best.

But Laura also needed to know about setting herself up with medical doctors -- a physiotherapist, a pediatrician -- and, of course, a dentist in Vancouver (

Missy and I beamed at each other.

"We've been chatting about this for the past two weeks," I remarked.

Laura lazily stirred her coffee and tapped the spoon on the side of the cup before responding. "I just need a phone number, not a whole story!" She always had been the cynical, no-nonsense member of our group of friends.

"Well," said Missy, "that's what I thought too, but I checked out her website -- "

"Whose?" Laura asked.

"Dr. Monty's -- our dentist," I interjected. "Just look at my teeth!" I smiled broadly at her and she feigned squinting from the glare I had purportedly caused by my newly whitened teeth.

"Wow, I'm impressed!" She rolled her eyes. "They do look great, but I just need a woman who will do the practical stuff."

Missy furrowed into her purse and scrawled onto a piece of paper. "Here," she said. "Just check out her website,, and we can talk about this when you've looked further into it."

And then we smiled at each other again. We knew she wouldn't be disappointed.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Missy Visits The Dentist

Missy and I were having brunch at Cafe Siciliano, one of our favourite places to meet in the city. She was having a cappuccino; I was indulging in a gelato.

"So," she remarked, "I went to see her."

I stopped midway between devouring the limonta gelato. "Where are we in the conversation?"

"Seeing Dr. Monty -- remember?"

I burst out laughing. "I convinced you, I see. What did you think?"

"Well, whatever problems I have with my teeth and gums -- " she launched into a detailed list of problems with her teeth.

"Wow," I thought, eyeing my gelato and wondering what damage I was inflicting. "But what did you think of her?"

"Oh no--she was great. Really knowledgeable. She identified a problem I'm having with my gums as related to the fact that I'm on the pill."

"Are you kidding me?" I thought of ordering a second gelato.

"Seriously -- so we've scheduled another appointment for next week. I'm impressed, really impressed." She sipped her cappuccino. "It's been a long time since a doctor has so impressed me with her knowledge."

We smiled at each other and continued to watch people striding along Commercial Drive.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

(Nothing is) Faster than the Speed of Whitening

"I did it," I said, twirling the telephone cord in my fingers and peering into the mirror. I practiced smiling at myself again and again.

"What did you do? Dump Brad's sorry self?" Missy responded.

"No, not yet." I smiled at myself again.

"Ask Jim out?"

"Nope -- I did the laser whitening. I had my appointment today."

"Oh my God!" She shrieked. "And? How was it?"

"Well," I laughed, "I'm amazed at how little time it took. It felt strange at first. They put this viscous substance in my mouth and put protective material all around."

"Uh-huh, oh yeah -- my dentist in Toronto had done that too."

"But here's the thing," I replied. "I think I would have found the whole process detestable, except that Dr. Monty and her staff are so incredibly personable and sweet. You know, she even has a video on-line so you can see what will happen before they do the work on your teeth? It's at"

"That would have helped my experience back in Toronto."

"They were really great, I mean it."

"So NOW will you ask Jim out?"

I looked into the mirror and flashed a white and bright smile at myself. "Yes," I said. "Yes, I really think I will."

Monday, August 09, 2004

This Dentist In Particular

"Wow," Missy declared as she slipped off her high-heeled shoes and flopped herself on my sofa this afternoon after work. She made herself comfortable and then looked steadily at me. "So, you weren't kidding, were you?"

"What are you talking about?" I asked, handing her a glass of red wine. I was confused: she was referring to a conversation I couldn't remember.

"You were talking about your dentist," she said, sipping from the glass I had just handed to her.

"Oh yes -- Dr. Monty. Well, how do you know I wasn't kidding about her?"

"I checked out her website after we chatted." (For those who want to confirm what Missy is talking about, check out:

I burst out laughing. It was typical that she wouldn't take my word for it. She was always somewhat suspicious and needed to do research to be sure just what the facts were.

"She seems nice enough." She raised a perfectly arched eyebrow.

I grinned. I knew I had baited her and that she would try to make an appointment.