123 Kerrisdale Dental Centre is going through some exciting changes, with a new website and a new name; our clinic will be now be known as 123 Kerrisdale Dental Centre. However, the change we are most thrilled about has to be the addition of a new Doctor to our dental family, the exceptionally experienced Dr. Carmen Cartier. Take a few minutes and get to know Dr. Cartier and give her a warm welcome the next time you stop by.
As a young child growing up in Northern Alberta, Dr. Carmen Cartier didn’t shy away from her visits to the dentist. “I loved my dentist,” she jokes over the phone. “He was blonde and blue eyed!” That was back in her home town of Falher in the early 1960’s, now known as the Honey Capital of the world. Falher was as small as small towns get by today’s standards, only recently having been incorporated in 1955 with a population under 1000. Named after a French Missionary, Falher was settled by many francophones, and to this day Dr. Cartier speaks fluent French. Eventually she would leave Falher for bigger things at the University of Alberta, but she never lost her affection for dentistry.
“When I was in Alberta in school I was the only girl in a class of 50, and the youngest,” Dr. Cartier recalls. “I had a lot of big brothers, and as an only child it was a new concept. The guys were very accepting of me, but there was still some competition.” She remembers the experience fondly, despite having more in common with her fellow student’s wives. In 1970 the University of Alberta was required to have 6% of their programs filled by women, but the Dental program had fewer female applicants that met the strict criteria. Dr. Cartier explains, “I never got an interview, which was really surprising. I guess my marks were good enough and they liked my passport picture!” There were over 700 applicants and Dr. Cartier became the only woman, graduating 15th in her class 4 years later.
She wouldn’t be the last. “I was in the last year there was only 1. The following year, there were 7 girls. After that it became more normal.” Dr. Cartier moved to Vancouver at the end of the program because she says, “You know when you’re 23, and the world’s your Oyster and I’d always been in Alberta, so I just thought, why not?” In 1974, Dr. Cartier joined a practice at 70th Avenue and Granville Street with Dr. Doug McGinnis. “He was a fatherly type and was very good to me as a young newbie,” she says. After practicing with Dr. McGinnis for about 10 years he retired in 1984-85 and Dr. Cartier purchased the practice from him.
For 25 years, Dr. Cartier practiced in that same location in South Vancouver, before choosing to sell the practice to another dentist in 2010. That clinic still exists several blocks from it’s original home and Dr. Cartier stayed on as a dentist through a short transition period. At the end of the year she was forced to take medical leave from the practice. “My mom, who was a resident of Edmonton, she had a major stroke and went to the hospital here for about 8 weeks and then she passed away. As an only child I had to deal with that,” Dr. Cartier explains. Through the heartbreak and challenges of that loss, Cartier continued to teach at UBC and she relished the chance to return to her passion; “I love dentistry, I just don’t love the administration. So when (Dr. Amin Shivji) offered me the opportunity to just do my dentistry, it was a match made in heaven.”
In her spare time, Dr. Cartier enjoys travelling. Having visited Europe, England and the United States she recently returned from a Safari in Kenya. “One of the things on my bucket list is the Galapagos Islands… another is China. Walking the Great Wall of China and seeing the Terracotta Warriors, that’s on my to do list.” She also works hard knitting as both a hobby and in support of the BC Children’s Hospital. “I knit purple hats for newborns to promote awareness of Shaken Baby Syndrome,” she says. It’s part of a program called The Period of Purple Crying, and you can learn more about it by clicking here. Your support means a world of difference to infants suffering from SBS.
Dr. Carmen Cartier is a General Family Dentist with 30 years experience as a practicing dentist in Vancouver. Naturally we are very excited to have her join the Kerrisdale family and begin treating patients. As to what she loves most about Dentistry, “It’s the people contact. Being able to help people. And to try and make Dentistry as painless as possible,” she explains, adding “to me, there’s an art to the science of Dentistry, and I quite like that as well.” Dr. Carmen Cartier’s primary focus is restorative services such as crowns and bridges. Learn more about all of Kerrisdale’s services here. As for Dr. Cartier and her philosophy for modern Dentistry? “I believe in dentistry we wear two hats, a psychologist hat and a dentist hat. That’s what I try to be. It’s about helping people and making them feel safe with you.” Well said, and at 123 Kerrisdale Dental Centre, we are very excited to help put all our patients at ease with a personalized treatment plan.
To book your appointment with Dr. Cartier or one of our other Dentists, call today!