It’s not every doctor who hangs Epictetus quotes where you’d normally see the “Hang in there!” kitten. It’s a bit presumptive, but Dr. Mark lives up to a pretty high standard.
Dr. Mark is a craftsman. You don’t meet a lot of craftsmen these days – the guys who are really good at what they do, really into it, who really take pride in it. But that’s Dr. Mark and his dentistry.
I had a bit if reconstructive work done on a chipped tooth as a teen, and on the first visit, Dr. Mark admired the work and wanted to know who had done it. He was genuinely interested. The craft matters to this guy.
I was there to have a wisdom tooth removed. It was a snarly deal, with an extra root and twisted through the bone. He worked it out in the x-rays, came up with a strategy for cracking the thing, and got it out in just a couple pieces. It was barely sore afterward, and I didn’t need stitches. The same guy who does my cleanings was able to deal with something that would normally get you sent to a dental surgeon.
The best part was the shit-eating grin Dr. Mark had when he got the tooth out, and showed it to me in his hand. He pulled out the x-rays and explained why it had been such a cool challenge, then he had to call his assistant over to boast and share his triumph. This guy loves his work.
With a couple cavity fillings, Dr. Mark used very small, targeted shots. They didn’t hurt much at all, and I wasn’t left with the side of my mouth numb. This guy understands nerves.
He’s also a detail guy. After doing a filling, he goes through a lot of asking you to bite down on some carbon paper, checking to see that the teeth are coming together neatly – no bit of filling pushing against the matching tooth so your bite doesn’t feel different for a few weeks after. He repeats it over and over, grinding it down just a little until you’re satisfied that it feels natural again. That’s a welcome, extra touch I hadn’t had in the past.
He’s friendly as well, as is his beautiful assistant and receptionist. If I had to stretch to find anything wrong with the place, it’s just that the waiting room chairs are cheap library chairs, and not at all comfortable. It’s a small price to pay for a dentist I don’t dread, though.
I’m leaving the Chicago area this week, headed for San Francisco. I got to thinking of the things I’d miss the most about the place, and it’s odd to have the dentist come up. But there you have it. Dr. Mark’s way up there.
If you give Dr. Mark a try, tell him Brian, “the huge guy” said hi. He’ll treat you right.