With the continuing unrest in Egypt since the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi Christians continue to be persecuted.

This persecution of Christians is not new.  Their persecution began in Alexandria under the reign of Emperor Philip around the years 244-249.  While Christians fled the city, an old deaconess named Apollonia was seized.  She was beaten by the crowd knocking out all her teeth.  She was to be thrown into a fire if she did not disavow her God.  Rather than turn her back on God, she voluntarily threw herself into the fire.  She has since become a martyr of the Christian church.  The violent removal of her teeth was such a big part of her story that she is now the patron saint of dentistry, and people suffering with dental pain often ask for her intercession.  There is a prayer in F. Martinez’s book on dentistry published in Spain in 1557:

Illustrious Virgin martyr, Apollonia
Pray to the Lord for us
Lest for our offenses and sins we be punished
By diseases of the teeth.

She is pictured in artwork with pincers holding a tooth.

The Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches celebrate the feast day of St. Apollonia on February 9th.  In Germany she is one of the 14 patron saints of daily life, protectress against toothache.

After her martyrdom, parts of Apollonia’s body were scattered throughout Europe. In the Middle Ages objects claimed to be her teeth were sold as toothache cures.

In Cervante’s Don Quixote, published in 1615, the following dialogue occurred:

“Be in no pain then,” replied the bachelor,” but go home, in Heaven’s name, and get something warm for breakfast and on your way repeat the prayer of St. Apollonia if you know it.”

“Bless me!” replied the housekeeper, “the prayer of St. Apollonia, say you?  That might do something if my master’s distemper laid in his gums, but alas! It is all in his brains.”

So pray if you wish to St. Apollonia when you have dental problems, but if that doesn’t work, give us a call.  We’ll be glad to help in a more secular way.

Dr. Jack Churchill

We’re With You All the Way

I love my patients.  They are – besides family, friends, and staff – the people I most care about.  They are of all ages, varied occupations, multiple ethnicities and political leanings, each one with their own joys and disappointments, dreams and aspirations.

Not one of them likes sitting in my chair to have a tooth fixed.  But generally they have their dentistry done with a sense that they will be better when they leave.  They see the value in what they’re having done, and though often would rather be elsewhere, know we are there to help them and are appreciative of our efforts.

With many of these same people I’ve developed close friendships.  For these I am truly blessed.

Occasionally, we see people who are “out-of-sorts” so to speak.  They are not happy to be with us and make that clear.  You know…that’s alright.  We are healers.  We understand that people come to us with their plates full, to have a procedure done which isn’t exactly like enjoying a good meal or buying something nice to wear.  We see them in snippets of time within the course of their lives – like one frame within an entire reel of film.  We see only the one frame but we must appreciate the “big picture.”

So we love it when you smile, laugh, and enjoy yourself when with us.  But if you don’t we understand.  We’re with you all the way!

Pure Gold

Churchill Dental just invested in new technology –  digital radiography.  For those of you who are unaware, this is a means of gaining immediate radiographic images of your teeth without the chemicals used to process film.  Radiation is reduced and images are improved.  Yes, lots of dental offices already have this technology and have had it for years, but that does not diminish the fact that we are doing our best to see to it that you get the best.

This digital radiography along with our intraoral camera system shows you your mouth in a most high-tech and intimate way.  What you see may even surprise you.  These innovations are truly amazing but I still believe the way to amaze is to treat people the low-tech way – with integrity, honesty, humility, perseverance, gratitude, commitment, hard work, and service.

We do love our digital radiography but do you know what we like better? The Golden Rule.  That’s about as old fashioned as it gets, but it’s been around that long for a reason.  Treat others as you would like to be treated.  This rule spans time.  It spans cultures.  It spans technologies.  It works whether you’re on your iphone or calling on a rotary dial phone.  Technologies come and go.  Basic, time-tested human values are golden and here to stay.  That’s a good thing.

Jack Churchill

We’re Getting Rich in February

Have you ever wanted to be rich? Well, here at Churchill Dental we’ve found a way to get rich.

February is Dental Health Month which means Give Kids a Smile Day. On Friday, February 1st, Churchill Dental is one of the sites scheduling children from all over the metro area for free dental check-ups, fluoride treatments, and cleanings. Many of these kids are from families who cannot afford regular dental care. No, I don’t have to twist arms, coerce, bribe or beg my staff to come into the office on a day off to treat these kids. They look forward to it as I do. To see the smiles on these kids’ faces and to hear their little “thank you”s are unforgettable gifts. We definitely receive much more from them than we give away. It is in that giving that we connect with others, with the world, and with our God. Indeed, it is by spending ourselves that we become rich.

It only takes a moment
to reach out to be a friend
but to the one who needs you
the memory never ends.

A simple act of kindness
to a person you don’t know
may plant a seed of friendship
that for them will always grow.

We sometimes lose perspective
of the difference we can make,
when we care more of our giving
and care less of what we take.

So remember that your actions
may help change a life someday.
Always think about the person
that you meet along the way.

It only takes a moment
to reach out to be a friend
but to the one who needs you
the memory never ends.

(Author unknown)

What You Can’t See

With the Christmas season comes a heightened sense of hope.  We hope for that “thing we’ve always wanted” under the tree.  We hope the Christmas dinner goes well.  We hope we can get all the kids home for Christmas.  But most importantly, there is the hope which comes with the celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.

As a Christian, I believe that Christ offers us the ultimate hope – hope that through Him God promises eternity.  Yes I know, no one knows this for sure or can prove it, but as Romans 8 says, hope that is seen is no hope at all.  Who hopes for what he already has?  This is what defines our faith.

Faith, in Hebrews 11, is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  Christ said in John 20:29 “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

So, to all our patients from everyone here at Churchill Dental, we wish you the hope of what goes unseen during this joyous time of year.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Dr. Jack Churchill        

MDA President’s Award

I was fortunate to receive the 2012 President’s Award from the Minnesota Dental Association this past month in recognition of my chairing the Constitution, By-Laws, and Ethics committee for the past 10 years and, in conjunction with that, writing a recurring column called What’s a Dentist to Do? in our profession’s journal, Northwest Dentistry.

 The column was based on the ethics of practicing dentistry.  I tried to highlight the common denominators dentists each possess in their practices and in their lives – more human interest stuff than case studies.  I enjoyed writing them – one every two months – these past 10 years.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to write one every once in a while as a guest writer.  You can see and/or read every one of them on our web site at www.churchilldental.com.  The more recent ones I think are better. 

I want to thank President Mike Zakula and the MDA for this distinct honor.

Jack Churchill

State Fair

It’s State Fair time – corn dogs, mini donuts, double Ferris wheel, anything-on-a-stick, animal barns, etc., etc. What a great time of the year even though, as a kid, it would mean the end of summer and a return to school.

As the Great Minnesota Get-Together, it also means to me a connection, a cohesiveness or commonality with our fellow Minnesotans.  There is comfort in knowing we are in something together even if it is just people-watching while eating too much food during ten days in Saint Paul in late August.

We love to create that same connection with you when you visit us at Churchill Dental.  Yes, I know what you’re thinking – you’re comparing a day at the Minnesota State Fair with a visit to the dentist?!  That’s a stretch – but we like to create a family feel here like Minnesota creates with its State Fair.  See you by the butter sculptures!

Zeitgeist – Spirit of the Times

I love words.  Are you ever reading something and come across a word that is so interesting you have to pull out the dictionary?  I did that the other day with the word “zeitgeist.”  It is a German word meaning “spirit of the times,” “taste or outlook characteristic of a period,” “climate of opinion,” or “convention of thought of an era.”  Our world is full of fads, trendy fashions, temporary fixes, zeitgeists, if you may.

Dentistry is no different.  With 33 years of experience I’ve seen things come and go in our profession – ever-changing products, nutrition rights and wrongs, bleaching fads and fiction, scares about silver fillings and now white fillings with BPA’s, X-ray fallacies, etc., etc.  As your down-home dentist, it is up to me and my staff to help you sort through these confusing crazes so you don’t get heisted by a zeitgeist.

Jack Churchill D.D.S.

Heart and Soul

The heart and soul of any dental practice is its people.  I have been a dentist for 34 years, 28 of which have been in the Medical Arts Building downtown Minneapolis. I must say without hesitation that the staff I work with now is Fabulous!!  Agnes and Kim at the front desk are knowledgeable and efficient and go out of their way to make our patients feel at home.  Annie, my dental assistant, is not only terrifically skilled but is hilariously funny.  Justin and Barb, our dental hygienists, are meticulous and service-driven and the quality of their work makes me very proud.  Considering male dental hygienists are rare, I have to add that it’s a treat to work with another guy (not that I don’t thoroughly enjoy working with these great women).  It is an absolute privilege to work with this group of people.  The cohesiveness of our staff shows through when you walk through our door.  You will feel this bond, this mutual respect we all have for one another.  I love these people as I’m sure you will too.

Dr. Jack Churchill


Our mission is to serve you. Often this requires multi-tasking and being willing to do things beyond what we have been taught to do or that are in our specific job description. We are cross-trained to help each other.  Kim, at our front desk, helps process X-rays. Justin, our full-time hygienist, maintains our film processor. We work as a team helping each other to bring you the best. And we often do this by doing more than one thing at a time – like rocking a mother’s baby while we clean mom’s teeth! Justin, your skills as a dad show at work. You’re the best!