When I was a really little kid I had a magical dentist. His name was Howie Garnett. He
lived around the corner from me and worked out of his house. He used gas, and never
hurt me, and gave me little presents. Then he stopped being a dentist. Something about
the suicide rates. So Mom sent me to Dr. Pollard. A sadist. He drilled countless holes in
my teeth over a number of weeks (and blamed Dr. Garnett), and continued to do so until
I finally moved out and never went to a dentist again. The needle always hurt and my
mouth never froze properly. It hurt. It was a horror show. When I cried I got in trouble.
Things got out of hand when my orthodontist ordered four permanent teeth pulled. He
didn’t freeze my mouth. He yelled at me, “What’s wrong with you?” He was angry. If I
told Mom, she didn’t hear it. It’s a miracle I am able to get my teeth cleaned now. Which I
only do about once every three years. And the last time, it was when the Guppins was a
baby. It was my first time leaving her with Sir Dick alone for a substantial period of time,
and while I was at the dentist, Sir Dick fell, while holding her, while jaywalking across
busy College Street, breaking his wrist, bumping her head, and almost getting them
I am reluctant to go to a dentist.
One day, while I am swimming in a pool with my daughter (she’s now two and a bit), I
noticed, to my horror, her front teeth are rotting. Two tiny black holes close to the gum
line. I google. Classic bottle-baby cavities.
I try to stay calm (impossible).
Has this happened to you?
I want to help you. I want to make you calm. I am hoping you google ME instead of the
images and articles I discovered.
You can freak out and read blogs but it won’t help. You can go buy some Trident gum
but it won’t help. You can try cutting out all dairy and sugar and good luck to you. What
you need to do is call a dentist. Preferably mine. My current dentist, that is. His name is
Ramone Humeres, and he practices in the west end of Toronto, Canada. And he knows
what he is doing. I trust him.
I was asked to bring the Guppins in for three appointments over three weeks. From the
moment we entered his unintimidating office, my girl was treated like a precious little
VIP. Dr. Humeres slowly broke her in to the idea of being in a dentist’s chair, of feeling
little unhurtful things in her mouth, and of hearing what a drill sounds like. He assured
me he wouldn’t need to freeze. He let me stand and watch. His assistants were fun
and loving in a real way. He gave her rings and a toothbrush. He talked with her. He
made a game of it. He marshalled his assistant in a manner which belied his extreme
seriousness despite all the fun. He fixed her teeth and she was fine.
She was fine.
He said she would have been fine even if she didn’t get the holes filled as long as we cut
out bottles through the night (achieved) and brushed her teeth before bed.
She was fine.
Here’s to you, Howie Garnett. Thank you for being a loving dentist. And to you, Dr.
Humeres, for being a real pro dentist. And to me. For trusting in a dentist despite all the
(Caution: teeth drilling on a two year old. No two year old was hurt filming this).