I’m sorry if this sounds like a commercial, but it’s the sort of news I like to hear from my neighbours sometimes, so here goes.
I had wanted to switch from my North Toronto dentist to one in my neighbourhood for a long time. I finally had my first appointment on Wednesday, at Avalon Dentistry on Roncesvalles.
It may be a bit of a stretch to wax ecstatic about a dental office, but I’m going to try. Because that is what happened in my head as I sat in the hygienist’s chair, gazing at a clock tower across the street that I’d never noticed before. As I answered her questions, I swear poetic, happy phrases of appreciation flowed through my head. She was so kind and non-judgmental.
It may have been endorphins caused by relief after months of anticipation and wondering: would it be a tension filled experience? Would there be pain? (I’m a pain wimp – actually, a wimp about a lot of things.) Would I be disappointed in any part of the experience. Would the hygienist be nice?
If you wonder why I care – it’s a long time to spend with someone, in a fairly ‘close encounter’ if they are not so nice. And there’s a wide variety of less-than-nice dental offices out there. When I haven’t liked my dental office, I’ve tended to postpone visits, and you know what that can lead to.
Since my default state is to basically assume I deserve criticism, I am generally pleasantly surprised if the opposite happens. With the previous dentist of over 30 years, the atmosphere was formal, polite, efficient, and the dentist a perfectionist. He was the type who uses the word “should” a lot.
When this new hygienist asked about my dental hygiene habits, I said – sheepishly and as vaguely as I could manage – that I brushed at least twice a day and flossed at least once (so now you know me intimately!). She was so delighted that I was startled. “That’s wonderful!” she said, warmly.
Not only did she follow all the ‘proper procedures’ (e.g. thyroid protection during X-rays) but she cleaned my teeth gently. Well, as gentle as it’s possible to do that job.
When the dentist came in to ask more questions, he was every bit as warm and friendly and informal as the hygienist. I do believe that the “top dog” in any group of people influences the group atmosphere. The predominant feeling among the 4-5 people working there was overwhelmingly warm, friendly and helpful — while still being every bit as efficient as my former dentist’s office. Wow.
All that, and a three-minute walk from home!