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Illustration: Alexei Vella @SalzmanArt

One Night with a Rock Star

Visiting Jeff Abolofia’s dental practice, a patient might think they had stepped into a rock and roll museum. The Burien office features a treasure of memorabilia, including a 1947 Wurlitzer 1080 jukebox in the waiting area. Once, in the late 1970s, the office even hosted an actual rock star, when the touring bass player for Crosby, Stills, and Nash suffered a severe toothache after playing what is now KeyArena. Abolofia carried out a root canal on the leather-clad musician, who according to the dentist “was in so much pain that he couldn’t speak.” When the pain eased, the two chatted for hours about their favorite Fender guitars and the musicians they admire. Abolofia even received an invite to meet and play with the band the next day. But as luck would have it, he already had prior engagements. “I’ll never know if I missed my chance to join Crosby, Stills, and Nash.” —Aoife Reilly

 

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Illustration: Alexei Vella @SalzmanArt

Rivalry by Retainer

It’s only natural for an orthodontist to learn a few personal details about patients, from their favorite subject in school to their sports team loyalties. An ardent UW Husky supporter, dentist Steve Lemery of Bellevue enjoyed banter with one patient in particular, a diehard Washington State Cougars fan—and they loved to debate which team is superior during visits. When the day finally came for the patient to ditch braces and try on a new mouthpiece, Lemery “felt it was only fitting to customize his retainer with the collegiate logo proudly displayed.” He just didn’t tell the patient which college. After the retainer was inserted and a photo taken, the look on the high schooler’s face turned from excitement to horror at the image of a perfectly rendered University of Washington logo. Luckily for the Cougs fan, Lemery had made a second retainer, sans logo. —Karin Vandraiss

 

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Illustration: Alexei Vella @SalzmanArt

Nose Job

One morning back in 1996, Daniel O’Brien received a panicked call from his wife. Their five-year-old-son had shoved a tire shard up his nose, a school-yard dare won so thoroughly that now the shard wouldn’t budge. She felt more comfortable with her son under the immediate care of his dad instead of a waiting at urgent care, despite the dentist’s worry that most of his tools were too sharp to be up anyone’s nose. Her concern won out, however, and she drove to the office in Renton. There, Dr. O’Brien sifted through his various scalers and probes before settling on a suction device used to remove blood and pieces of bone after surgery. He then shoved the tube up his son’s occupied nostril and switched it to max power. As the adventurous kindergartner was “determined to be well behaved, as everyone else was watching him,” the dentist gently removed the foreign object. Now tire free, his son leapt up for a hug, shouting, “You saved me!” —Greg Young

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