Friday, October 10, 2014

The Best Dentist in Toronto - Part One

Back in September I decided to go on a quest to find The Best Dentist in Toronto.

Now granted, Toronto has over 1000 dentists according to Yelp (or 800+ dentists according to Google) which means I could go to a new dentist every day for 2 to 3 years and still not try every dentist in Toronto. So trying each and every dentist in Toronto is impractical.

So instead what I have decided to do is to start at the top of the list.

When you Google 'toronto dentist' the first page comes up with a list of map locations of dentists, followed by 4 pages that are directories for dentists. The first dental practice listed is "Archer Dental".

(Plus my friend Robert recommended the place, so that is another reason.)

Archer Dental, according to my research, was listed as the Best Dentist in Toronto by NOW Magazine in 2013, so I think it is a good place to begin my series of dentist reviews. However let me backtrack a bit here and take us back to 2003 so I can review a different dental practice for comparison purposes.

In June 2003 I had was getting read to leave Canada and go overseas to South Korea. Since I didn't know what the dentists would be like in South Korea I opted to have a visit to the dentist before I left and hopefully I could forego visiting any dentists for the year I was in SK.

The dental office I went to was the dental office at York University's York Lanes, now known as York Lanes Dental Office.

I had already been to the York Lanes Dental Office several times before - without incident - but during that final trip I was given a deep cleaning by a new dental hygienist who - as best as I can tell was just fresh out of dental school or was still a student. What followed was the most painful experience of my entire life. It was absolute torture. It went on for what felt like hours.

When the dental hygienist was done I was missing part of my gums. They had literally torn my gums to pieces and one of the pieces was missing, completely cut out.

Thus began a very long period in my life in which I swore I would never go to another dentist again. Ever. Instead I embarked on a daily brushing / mouthwash ritual that sometimes included me taking a toothbrush with me to events so I could immediately brush my teeth after eating.

And believe me when I say I was paranoid about my teeth. I would brush too hard, I use mouthwash a lot (I have become a bit of an expert on mouthwashes and really should post a detailed review on them sometime), and I am a big fan of using sugarfree gum when I am outdoors so I clean my teeth using the gum.

It was 11 years and 3 months before I finally went to see another dentist, in September 2014.

When I finally made the decision to visit a dentist it was because I thought I had a chip in my tooth. But what I thought was a chip was actually a build up of 11 years worth of "calculus". It was not the tooth which had chipped, it was the calculus build up which had chipped. (Calculus chipping off is actually a good thing, but to my tongue it felt like a chip in my tooth.)

Despite all of my paranoid brushing time had still built up a layer of calculus on one small section of my teeth I wasn't brushing properly. My bad. Need to brush there more often.

So let us go back to the present.

I arrived at Archer Dental slightly early (about 9:50 or so AM, for a 10 AM appointment) on September 25th. I was given a very comprehensive form to fill out, covering everything from whether I was diabetic to what kind of medications I was on.

Once that was done I sat there and waited, playing with my phone because the choices of reading material available in the waiting room was limited to women's magazines and National Geographic. Oh what I would give for a Lee Valley catalogue for men to read... Seriously, they should add that to the pile of magazines on the shelf. Lee Valley catalogues are free and men LOVE reading anything that has tools or tech items in them. Add a Wired magazine subscription, plus a Lee Valley catalogue subscription and any man visiting their waiting room would be quite happy. I think I will bring along a Lee Valley catalogue during my next visit and surreptitiously leave it behind for other men to read. (I think the reason why it was mostly women's magazines because it is usually mothers who end up taking the kids to the dentist instead of fathers.)

Fortunately I did not have to wait that long. You know how most dentists make you wait FOREVER before you actually get to see them? Well my wait really was not that long. I was early after all, but I do believe my appointment actually started on schedule.

I was introduced to my dental hygienist for the day, Mary, who was extremely polite, considerate and willing to explain everything as we went along. I met Dr Archer later on, who likewise exemplified those values I find to be so important in a dentist. It was Mary however who ended up cleaning and also deep cleaning my teeth - and removing 11 years worth of calculus from my teeth, making me feel like I had a brand new set of teeth. And she did it while being as gentle and as understanding as possible. (That doesn't mean I wasn't in pain during the deep cleaning, that stuff is still painful - but at least she didn't rip my gums to pieces like that dental hygienist at York Dental.)

Afterwards I felt like I had been given a brand new lease on life. Like I was suddenly going to live long and have a fuller life. I was so happy with the results I promised to bring flowers the next time I visit, which will likely include a thank you note too.

When was the last time you went to a dentist and was so happy with the results you wanted to bring them flowers?

I am visiting Archer Dental again in a few weeks for a 2nd deep cleaning. After that I may end up becoming a regular visitor, but I also will be continuing my search for The Best Dentist in Toronto - which means I will need to explore and experiment with other dentists in Toronto and see how they stack up and compare with Archer Dental for their level of quality service.

Subscribe to Product Reviews Canada and read more reviews of dentists in Toronto in the future as I explore other dentists and try to determine which is the best. For now, the best dentist office in Toronto is Archer Dental.

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