A FEW YEARS AGO, Dr. Ben Bell, with his wife and partner Dr. SuAnn Ng, purchased a state-of-the-art ceramic mill which allows them to create crowns, onlays, inlays, veneers, and bridges all in-house. By avoiding the use of outside labs, they not only can save clients time and money, they have more ability to customize and control for quality.
“The ability to have the crown ready for the patient in one appointment avoids the intermediate phase of wearing a temporary crown for two weeks and then returning to the office for the final crown to be cemented,” explains Dr. Bell. An optical scanner and digital technology allow him—in consultation with his patient—to design the ideal crown which is milled onsite.
The same scanner is also helpful during implant procedures. The first choice is always to save a tooth, says the dentist, but sometimes, despite all efforts of both patient and dentist, that just isn’t possible.
Implants are also being sought by many who have relied on bridges and dentures for years. “They are choosing to go to implants because they are more stable and functional,” says Dr. Bell. “Dentures often rub and shift which irritates the tissue while the patient is chewing. Bridges often trap food underneath them.”
In the past five years, he notes, implant crowns have become more natural-looking, stronger, and they integrate with the bone more quickly—which can shave months off the time between implant and crown placement. The team’s CBCT scanner allows the dentist to see a 3D image of the bone which means dental implants can be placed with more precision, thereby lowering any risk of injury and complications. (It also enables root canals to be done more confidently.) “That scanner,” says Dr. Bell, “helps me sleep better at night.”
Integrating the 3D CBCT image and the Cerec optical scanner image can often significantly reduce the number of visits necessary to replace a tooth, says Dr. Bell. “In the past we often needed approximately 4 appointments to replace a tooth with an implant, now, in many cases, we place the implant in one appointment and the next time we see the patient we are able to attach the tooth to the implant.”
Dr. Bell insists on using premium implants from companies that have long-established excellent track records. It’s all about minimizing risk of future problems, because when an implant fails it can mean a long process of addressing infection that gets into the jaw bone. Dr. Bell, who has been placing implants for 10 years says, “You have to be extremely committed to the art and science. Placing implants requires dedication to continuously upgrading your training to stay up to date with the advances.”
Indeed: The money invested in state-of-the-art equipment and the time devoted to continuing education are significant. On average, Dr. Bell exceeds 100 hours of continuous education training per year, more than 3 times the college requirements. Dr. Bell has received training at some of the most widely respected dental training institutes in the world including Spear Education in Arizona; he is a graduate of the Kois Center in Seattle, and a mentor with the Cerec Doctors Institute.
“The technology is changing so rapidly in dentistry,” says Dr. Bell, I believe that we have a responsibility to stay current to ensure that our patients receive optimal care. One of the reasons that we do all these procedures in-house is so that our patients can have continuous care from the same clinicians from start to finish. Another reason is that by offering more specialized procedures, we make advanced dentistry more affordable to our patients.”
With Dr. SuAnn Ng teaching clinical oral radiology, pathology, and local anaesthesia at Camosun College, and not to mention keeping busy with Dr. Bell and their two young children, they are both pleased to have Dr. Andrew Sweet in the office these days. Dr. Sweet also provides a wide range of dental services including crowns, root canals, extractions, surgeries and Invisalign orthodontics.
Dr. Benjamin Bell & Dr. SuAnn Ng
General & Cosmetic Dentistry
#220 – 1070 Douglas St (TD Bank Building)
FOR THE PAST 17 YEARS, Dr. Katrine Hegillman has helped people with a wide range of health issues, from digestive complaints and allergies through musculo-skeletal ones like sciatica and scoliosis. Her patients love the gentle yet profoundly effective form of Japanese acupuncture she uses, as well as her consultative process.
Lois Loewen, age 75, describes Dr. Hegillman as a born healer. “Over the past two and a half years she has been treating me monthly for peripheral neuropathy, sciatic nerve pain, a broken wrist and a broken shoulder. The treatments have contributed significantly to my mobility and the overall improvement of my health…I am grateful to her for her friendly, professional, no-nonsense approach. She achieves results by combining advice on lifestyle, diet and exercise.”
Dr. Hegillman obtained her doctorate in Traditional Chinese Medicine in 1999 in Vancouver where she subsequently ran a busy practice. Since she discovered the Japanese practice of acupuncture in 2005, however, she has fully immersed herself in its continuing study and practice.
Four years ago, she moved to Victoria where she operates Oriri Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine Centre out of her home in Esquimalt.
In traditional Japanese acupuncture, abdominal (hara) palpation is central. Using it, Dr. Hegillman says she can discover long-standing stagnations from physical and emotional trauma, digestive issues, gyenecological issues, adrenal weaknesses, and chronic stress. Such palpation also allows her to monitor the treatment as she goes along, telling her almost immediately if the needle placement is working as desired. The needles are about one-half the diameter of those used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and inserted more shallowly, because, says Dr. Hegillman, the electricity of the body is actually quite superficial.
Gale Penhall, a former Vancouver patient, was pleased to discover Dr. Hegillman had relocated to Victoria so she can get help with her adrenal and digestion issues. She likes the Japanese style of acupuncture, finding it less painful and more immediately effective than other forms of acupuncture. “I also really appreciate her consultative approach. She answers all my questions allowing me to understand my system better; I feel part of the process.”
“Everyone has some constitutional weaknesses, that is, an organ or system that is a bit weaker than others,” says Dr. Hegillman. “However with oriental medicine we can identify it and support it to create a stronger and more balanced body.” Through asking a lot of questions about the patient’s history and family history, and checking the pulse, she can zero in on the individual’s patterns. “We always nourish the deficiencies, treating the root and then the branches of the problems.” Both Chinese and Japanese medicine traditions use rather poetic language, notes Dr. Hegillman, “but are based on 6000 years of empirical science.”
Dr. Hegillman’s use of both acupressure massage (shiatsu) and moxibustion is also indicative of her traditional Japanese approach to medicine. “They were never meant to be separated in ancient practice,” explains Dr. Hegillman. Moxibustion is a technique that involves warming the acupuncture points in order to speed up healing. “It is nurturing, warming and has a balancing ability,” she says.
Dr. Hegillman stays with the patient through the entire treatment, explaining step by step what she is doing and why. After a treatment, she often spends time with patients, coaching them on self care so they can speed or maintain recovery.
She enjoys working with children (Dr. Hegillman has two young ones herself), partly because they are so responsive. With children she does not use needles at all but special “tools” the children (and frail elderly) love. Called Shonishin, it is recommended for developmental issues, digestive issues, allergies, nervousness, sleep issues and immune weakness. She teaches parents how to help children to further improve with exercise.
Claudia and her two sons have both benefited from Dr. Hegillman’s care. Says Claudia, “I am continually surprised and amazed by her scope of knowledge and expertise! Dr Hegillman is warm and caring and genuinely wants to make a difference in the lives and health of her patients.”
Sasha Gale initially came to Dr. Hegillman for her three-year-old daughter. She says, “My daughter had struggled with a facial rash for months, and after one gentle treatment we saw significant changes. I could actually see improvements while Dr. Hegillman was working on her! Her dietary recommendations have made a huge difference, and she’s taught me some simple ways to stimulate healing at home using acupressure points and massage.”
Unsurprisingly, Sasha has also consulted with Dr. Hegillman about her second pregnancy and is thrilled with how good she is feeling. “My own experience with Katrine has been transcendental. I’ve been seeing her regularly during my second pregnancy, and have reaped the rewards. Discomforts I considered a ‘normal’ part of pregnancy, such as heartburn and insomnia, haven’t been a issue since my first treatment. As I approach my birth, my baby is in a perfect position and my body feels strong and comfortable. I leave each session renewed and energized. I honestly feel that Dr. H channels the healing power of the divine mother; my babies and I are so lucky to have her!”
“Acupuncture should be able to help everyone, when closely catered to the individual needs,” says Dr. Hegillman. Once energy and blood circulates smoothly, the body can begin to heal itself. “I strive to deliver personalized and very hands- on treatment that is based on abdominal diagnosis and pulse reading. The abdomen and pulse of the patient has to improve in a session; this is how I know, and demonstrate to the patient, the progression of the treatment and healing. Patients can generally feel how areas that were previously tight or painful can improve even within a single session.”
Katrine Hegillman, Dr. TCM, BSc
Oriri Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine Centre
888 Dunsmuir Road • 250-886-8863 www.oriri.ca • firstname.lastname@example.org
OUR FEET ARE AMAZING—each has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons. But because of the tremendous amount of weight and pressure on them, things can and do go wrong and when they do, it can result in foot pain and ripple effects throughout our whole being.
Thirty years of helping people with their feet led podiatrist Dr. Gregg Congdon to laser equipment five years ago. “It’s the best tool we’ve ever had,” he says.
Dr. Congdon moved from the US to Victoria in 2004, first practicing at the Victoria Podiatry Clinic and the Cook Street Village Health Centre, and now out of beautiful offices in Fairfield Plaza’s Ross Bay Health Centre (Dr. Stephen Gordon, Medical Director). Here, Dr. Congdon and his assistant Colette Polard RN, are using the latest iteration of the Cutera Genesis Plus Laser to treat a wide range of foot problems, as well as providing rejuvenating skin care.
With toenail fungus, a common, unpleasant condition, the laser penetrates the nail plate and heats the tissue, killing the fungus beneath. “Usually a course of three treatments over four months with a follow-up a few months later is all that’s needed. We’ve had a 70 to 80 percent success rate,” says Dr. Congdon. All with no downtime, no side effects, and minimal risk.
In the past, the only partially effective treatment available to help with toenail fungus—an oral medication—posed problems for the liver, with liver function tests needed every 6 weeks.
Warts caused by Human Papilloma Virus are also more effectively treated by the laser than the usual topical medications offered. Again, usually only three sessions are needed to completely clear the condition.
Nurse Colette, who operates the laser, says the most typical response from long-suffering patients of such conditions is “Where have you been?!”
In recent years, clinical trials in the US demonstrated a very high reduction of pain and size of neuromas (inflammatory, benign tumor of nerve near the metatarsals) with between three to seven treatments.
“The possibility of replacing conventional treatments, primarily cortisone or alcohol injections and surgery, with an external, non-traumatic, non-invasive modality is the material of Star Trek,” says Dr. Congdon. “All our patients treated for neuromas stated a 50 percent reduction in pain and size of the neuroma with the first treatment alone. After three treatments, the majority of neuromas were no longer painful or palpable.”
Buoyed by this success, other musculoskeletal disorders have been tackled by Dr. Congdon and Colette, including plantar fasciitis, post-operative pain, stress fractures, tendinitis, and shin splints. “The laser is revolutionizing the practice of podiatry,” says Dr. Congdon.
Because it activates collagen production and reduces inflammation, Colette took training in using the laser for facial rejuvenation. The laser goes deep into the epidermis producing skin tightening, a reduction of pore size, fuller lips, and helps with acne scarring and rosacea. “Four to six treatments, two weeks apart, seem to be ideal,” says Colette, noting there’s a cumulative effect over time, even beyond the treatments.
For foot issues, Dr. Congdon will develop a customized treatment plan, using all possible diagnostic and treatment modalities—laser, but also conservative care and surgery—to alleviate your foot or ankle pain.
Dr. Gregg Congdon DPM; Colette Polard RN
Ross Bay Health Centre
Fairfield Plaza (behind Heart Pharmacy)
#16-1594 Fairfield Road www.laseratrossbay.com
FIVE YEARS AGO, Reverend Al Tysick started the Dandelion Society to serve Victoria’s homeless citizens, particularly those who have difficulty fitting into existing programs, usually because of their addictions or mental health issues.
Besides the early morning rounds, offering coffee, donuts and hugs, Al and his crew help get people to the hospital if sick, or to rehab if ready. They’ll take them somewhere to have a shower, or just to have coffee and a chat. They’ll round up second-hand furniture for someone when they do get housing, or make sure someone sleeping outside has a dry sleeping bag.
The Dandelion Society does their work without a dime of government funding. “We believe if we are doing good work, we’ll be supported by community citizens.” And they are. “There are many, many people who give us 20 bucks,” says Al, “and we love that.”
One benefit of relying on community members and not government money, says Al, is “that we are not at all hampered in what we say.” This has been critical in the past year during which Reverend Al and the Dandelion team have been involved with the folks who camped at the tent city on the Provincial Law Courts grounds, advocating for housing and services for the residents and others.
“I know it was hard on the neighbouring residents,” says Reverend Al, “but at the end of the day, we have many more homeless people housed.”
In recent years, through the generosity of the community, the Society has been able to hire three front-line workers to assist Al in the Dandelion’s ministry.
His most recent hire is Courtney Wendland, who volunteered with the Dandelion for two years previous. Like Al, from 4am-7am, Courtney does the rounds which allows the team to check in on people who live on the streets. She spends another few hours meeting with individuals to help them with whatever it is they need most—whether filling out forms for government assistance or housing, visiting someone in hospital, or just taking them to breakfast for a good chat. “Some of them are so alone and so interesting,” she says.
Courtney has an interesting story herself, one that shows the importance of someone lending a helping hand at the right moment.
Born in Victoria, Courtney grew up in a dysfunctional family. “I remember as young as age 7 wishing my parents would separate because they were constantly arguing.” Drugs and alcohol were also present. She’s known social workers from Family Services since she was 7 or younger.
Her parents did split up, and for a while she lived with her dad. But when she was 11, he disappeared. She hasn’t talked to him since.
Courtney tried living with her mother and siblings again, but it just didn’t work out. She describes it as “a really toxic environment,” but is still grateful to her mom who often held down two jobs to keep the rent paid.
By age 13 she was working (in a friend’s mom’s shop) and couch surfing with friends. When she was 16 and working in a restaurant, a couple she’d come to know from serving them every Sunday learned her story one evening. They came back the next day, offering to take her in and help her get into proper youth housing and programs. Friends of theirs tutored her in math and English. These people inspired her, she says, to help others when she could.
While she continued her studies and full-time work, she was accepted into Cool Aid’s youth housing. She was excited and happy. But she was soon dealt another blow. Her brother Justin was fatally stabbed on Douglas Street. Justin had been the only member of her family she was close to at the time. “He was the first person I would call if anything was happening. My heart broke. I felt so alone.”
She credits the fellow residents and workers in Cool Aid’s youth program (and others) for helping her get through this terrible time. The monthly dinners, the budgeting tutoring, the friendships with others who had their own challenging lives, “that program built me back up,” she says.
She also worked full-time in a women’s clothing shop downtown, and says her fellow workers—“brilliant, funny, strong women, really took me in and mentored me.”
“In my life, I’ve been so lucky to have met people who have helped,” says Courtney. “I decided to go back to school to learn how to help people—and to do all the things that Justin was going to do, but never would now.”
While working evenings and weekends, Courtney completed high school. She is now pursuing a degree in Social Work.
Two years ago, despite her full-time work and full-time studies, she started volunteering at the Dandelion Society. Reverend Al was impressed by her dedication and, when able, offered her a paid position. Dandelion’s early shift means she can work full-time and attend school.
“I love working for Dandelion. It’s fun,” says the bright-eyed 23-year-old. As the only woman on the team, she often meets with women on the street, but she has a friendly ear for everyone. She mentions an older man who she often saw but who seemed reticent about talking. Over the weeks, she let him know if he ever wanted to talk, she’d be happy to have coffee. Eventually he took her up on the offer and they’ve been meeting regularly. “He is an incredibly interesting person,” says Courtney. After keeping to himself for years following a personal tragedy, he has thanked her for reminding him that he actually enjoys talking with people.
“I work hard on building meaningful relationships with the people on the streets,” says Courtney. As Reverend Al says, “The Dandelion’s role is all about presence and connection.”
Donations to help Dandelion carry out its ministry are welcome online or by phone.
The Dandelion Society
778-440-1471 • www.hopeliveshere.ca
PO Box 8648, 708 Yates Street, Victoria BC, V8W 3S2