Russian dentist turns pulled teeth into art
Published 30 June, 2009, 09:22
There aren’t many people who enjoy being in the dentist’s chair. But a Siberian clinician has found an artistic way of making his surgery friendlier by making sculptures from his patients’ teeth.
His day starts pretty much like most dentists, with drilling and sealing canals. But pulling teeth is Igor Tsarik’s favorite part.
He’s a rare kind of dentist. One who likes working with gnashers when they’re no longer attached to a patient.
In his small workshop, with several delicate touches, a drill, a bit of heat and a drop of lacquer, Igor Tsarik turns teeth into miniature sculptures known as ‘netsuke’.
“Once, a client came over from New York. He brought the tooth of his mother and asked me to do something with it. I turned the tooth into an image of the Virgin Mary. The guy was happy,” Igor recalls.
In 18 years of pulling teeth, his collection has grown to over 300 pieces, though not all are on show.
Igor worries some of his clients won’t appreciate his particular kind of artistic interpretation. One woman fainted when she saw her tooth turned into an African figurine.
But Igor has no plans of giving up his weird, life-long obsession.
The dentist’s wife – Anna Tsarik – treats her husband’s craft with a pinch of salt.
“Some people yell – Wow! How interesting! Others wince, ‘Oh! It’s so nasty! Human teeth’. Then I have to explain that they’re very well sanitized teeth,” Anna says.
Children tend to be the biggest fans of Igor’s kooky creations
Masha, at a dentist’s for the first time, is now convinced all of them will turn her old teeth into dolls. But for Igor, Masha’s munchers are of little interest: he says milk teeth are too fragile for his needs.
Down-in-the-mouth adult patients with unwanted wisdom teeth are his favorites. Igor welcomes the discarded dentine with open arms.
So every time a patient comes to his surgery, Igor faces quite a challenge. As an artist he eagerly accepts every new item to his collection, but he’s first and foremost a dentist, and he says that his main task is to keep every tooth safe and in place as long as he can.