Working For the Weekend: With Dr. Sean Sikorski at House of Teeth

Friday 16th, October 2015 / 17:26
By Lily Keenan
Photo: Steven Shepherd

Photo: Steven Shepherd

VANCOUVER — If going to the dentist is up there with clubbing seals and listening to Nickelback on your list of things to never do, then Dr. Sean Sikorski’s House of Teeth might just be the savior your cavity-ridden teeth need. Tucked away modestly on Broadway just east of Kingsway, the “house” is anything but your typical dentistry office. Combining a vaudeville meets rock ‘n’ roll aesthetic, the House of Teeth offers everything from fillings to custom-made gold grills that would make ASAP Rocky jealous. Dr. Sikorski himself, who sports a handlebar moustache and a scattering of arm tattoos is a far cry from the sinister dentist portrayed by Steve Martin in Little Shop of Horrors.

The House of Teeth is a culmination of Sikorski’s many interests and accolades. He has spent much of his career fixing the teeth of drug addicts in the Downtown Eastside and before that, three years of running a clinic in Northern Native Inuit communities. He also has a degree from Emily Carr University of Art and Design and trains at the West Coast School of Circus Arts. To say he’s a renaissance man would be an understatement. Sikorski recently took some time out of his teeth-pulling schedule to discuss headgear, Halloween and the daily grind.

BeatRoute: You don’t really look like a typical dentist, how did you get into the dentistry business?

Dr. Sean Sikorski: I was the kid who had every type of headgear and appliance from age seven onward, I got my braces off in my first year of dental school. I went into dentistry cause it was almost the only thing I knew. I also thought it was so cool what they were doing… Sorta. I could have done without some of the headgear.  

BR: What was the motivation behind opening House of Teeth?

SS: Unemployment. I had been running a DTES clinic for 15 years. It got closed amidst politics and scandal, and I needed a job. Sadly I had nothing to do with the scandal, that was the biggest disappointment. I had worked in private practice, and I worked in a clinic and I didn’t quite want to do either of those again. I borrowed a page from Paris is Burning, and decided to open a House.

BR: What’s different about the ‘House of Teeth’ dental experience?

SS: The House of Teeth is just my honest way of practising dentistry, it’s as much a product of my Emily Carr education as my dental education. It’s the culmination of my 18 years as a dentist, with all those experiences behind me.

BR: On your website it says you’ve seen it all when it comes to teeth. What are some of the more unusual procedures you’ve done? 

SS: In school I was called the punk rock son of dentistry, and I’ve had as much of a punk rock career as dentistry might allow. Keep in mind dentistry is NOT punk rock at all. I used to work up North in First Nations and Inuit communities.

I worked in addictions. I did a residency in a trauma centre. I did clinical trials for oral cancer screening equipment. It has not been boring.

BR: You seem to have about four alter egos; dentist, motorbike rider, art and design graduate, trained circus acrobat… what would you be doing if you weren’t a dentist?

SS: Getting a math degree. 

BR: What’s the best thing about your job?

SS: For the most part, my job has always allowed me to be me. You see, I’ve worn many hats, and dentistry has always permitted me the freedom to do those things. I may not always fit in, but dentistry has always made room for me at the table. And the House of Teeth is my most intimate way to practice my craft. I’m surrounded by amazing people who are family to me. I have a House – how cool is that?!

BR: What music do you play in the clinic?

SS: Everything. We take turns, we ask patients, it’s a little of everything. Klaus Schulze, the Red Hot Chill Peppers, Living Colour, Dolly Parton, Tove Lo, Cour De Pirate are the last six artists on our playlist history.

BR: Why do you think people are so scared of going to the dentist?

SS: Needles and money.

BR: What are you wearing for Halloween?

SS: Forget Halloween, I’m going as Puck from Alpha Flight to the New York Comic Con.

For more information or to book a cleaning with Dr. Sean Sikorski, visit www.houseofteeth.com.

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