My dentist called yesterday and asked if I could stay an extra hour after my cleaning this morning to fill a few cavities I've been denying the existence of. I was honestly really excited and I'm not sure if that says more about how awesome my dentist is or how sad an existence my life is right now. It's true I don't get out much these days, but what's more true is how awesome Alki Dental is. (Seriously. Just look at those pictures on that website and tell me they are not awesome.)
I first heard about Dr. Bret Shupak in the Sound Consumer, PCC's monthly magazine for members. He had an ad for his practice somewhere in the back - PCC members get a discount. We were living in West Seattle where they are located, were both PCC members, were in the market for a dentist and certainly could use a discount. He had a holistic approach, which I had never heard of in the dentist world, and that intrigued me. Quite frankly up until that point I hated dentists and anything related to teeth, and hadn't been in for a cleaning since before moving to France; it had probably been eight years.
Boy, were we in for a pleasant surprise.
It turns out we already knew Bret. He knew my husband because he regularly went in to the store where he worked to do his grocery shopping and I knew him because he regularly came to my deli in West Seattle for lunch. We had already had many conversations and he was one of my favorite customers; my husband also. He quickly became my favorite dentist. Ever.
I don't think it's very often that a dental assistant has to stop cleaning your teeth because you are laughing so hard about some story she's telling you about her sons that it makes having medical instruments in your mouth slightly dangerous - no laughing gas involved, I promise. Nor do I think it's very often that your husband regularly runs into your dentist on a walk in your favorite park. Nor do I think it's very often that a dentist's office sends you a text wishing you a happy birthday. (Let's be honest - how many of your friends even actually send you a birthday text these days?) Nor do I think it is very often that a dentist sings along (extremely loudly and proudly) to Regina Spektor while filling your cavity. Nor is it very often you enjoy the company of every single person in your dentist's office. (Nor is it very often your dentist looks like Bret. I haven't met anyone oozing so much European energy since moving back to the States, I swear.)
These people are magic.
I had five (small!!! Hey - I have two other humans to take care of! My teeth have been a little neglected!) cavities taken care of this morning and it was fantastic. Bret uses this crazy & fabulous numbing technique where instead of numbing your entire mouth he just targets the exact tooth he will be working on. I am not a fan of needles, but honestly did not once feel whatever he was doing in there to numb me. Not once. At the end of the appointment I could actually move my tongue and mouth enough to thank him and smile. No drooling like one of my babies!
Bret is also an artist and he makes the most psychedelic pieces that cover the ceiling lights right above your chair. They are genius! Why has no dentist (or doctor for that matter) ever thought of this before?! I could stare at those things for hours. The music is always something that I like, not elevator music, and hearing Bret sing along is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
Plus they make me feel like a human being. I've always kind of felt like going to the dentist was an evil cross between doing your taxes and going to the mechanic. It's one of those unavoidable duties of being an adult; it involves things you've never even heard of; any explanation appears for all intents and purposes to be in another language; and then when all is said and done you owe so much money that it makes you blush a little. Then there's the scary tools and all that pain.
Alki Dental makes me feel like some hip European accountant in organic designer jeans is doing my taxes for me, calling me by my first name, and when I end up with a huge return in the end I'm blushing a little for other reasons. Like I said, they are magic.
There are still scary-looking tools, but today as Bret and his assistant were speaking in their beautiful dental language above my open mouth, he made those scary tools look like musical instruments, not instruments of pain. I wasn't scared, nervous, anxious or uncomfortable for even a second of the whole two and a half hour ordeal.
Looking up at those crazy psychedelic lights as they fixed my pearly whites, I smiled behind my dental dam and vowed to share the glory of a pain-free fear-free dental experience with all of you. Bret & Alki certainly deserve a shout-out. If you're searching for a dentist, or even if you're not, check them out. They are all amazing, real, local people!