Anton McConville
Digital Designer & Developer
Grinding Passion

This is a little story about observing passion in my dental care …

Disclosure - I’ve been having my teeth aligned for almost a year now with Invisalign. I’m no teenager, and a little embarrassed to do this so late in the day, but in my defense, dental care on the National Health in N.Ireland was pretty minimal, and uninviting when I was growing up … consequently wonky teeth later in life.

Admittedly, it wasn’t apparent to me quite how wonky they were until the little Invisalign trays started doing their thing. I have to take them out pretty frequently when traveling or speaking at a conference - they do affect your speech for one thing.

As part of the exercise, the dental team glues little bumps on your teeth to help pivot your teeth while they’re in the trays. This glue they use seems incredible to me. And also potentially hazardous, because the little bumps they glued on my teeth stayed on there for months, like weird bone outcrops.

A couple of days ago, they removed the bumps. The technician prepared me for the process. They don’t snap off the bumps, or melt away the glue, or cut them off … no … they grind them off with drills. They’re the same kind of drills they use for filling teeth … this time they’re filing them.

I joked with the technician that it sounded like fun. She told me that she liked it. She told me that she listens out for a change in tone, as the drill approaches the tooth and eases up.

She told me that in her spare time she builds models, and that she sees a similar skill to removing the bumps in a cosmetically accurate way, which felt a little like sculpting … like art.

When she told me that, I knew that she cared immensely about the job she was doing, and that I could relax.

She scraped off some small remaining edges, and polished the results. Sure enough, the bumps are gone, and my teeth feel wonderfully smooth.

It’s funny that we might not immediatley view work like that as a passion - in grinding down artificial bumps on teeth … but it was very clear that she had passion in her work - constantly learning, caring, practicing, considering.