The Western Los Angeles Dental Society (WLADS) is a local component of the California Dental Association and the American Dental Association. We are dedicated to helping our member dentists provide excellent patient care and providing the South Bay and Los Angeles community with dental resources and information.

NEWS

The latest WLADS news and a CDA renewal reminder,

June 29, 2020
For the latest WLADS news and a CDA renewal reminder, please click here: https://bit.ly/3ihDhwW #MondayMotivation
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Friendly Friday Reminder: Our Shred Event has been postponed

June 26, 2020
Friendly Friday Reminder: Our Shred Event has been postponed. We will share the new date when it is confirmed. Thank...
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The latest WLADS events,

June 23, 2020
  For the latest WLADS events, please click here: https://bit.ly/2YZnIkB
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LADS news and our events this week

June 16, 2020
For the latest WLADS news and our events this week, click here to view and sign up: https://bit.ly/3hwMsZN
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There is still time to register for our CAL/OSHA, Safety Training During Pandemic Times course on Tuesday, June 16

June 12, 2020
  There is still time to register for our CAL/OSHA, Safety Training During Pandemic Times course on Tuesday, June 16....
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Emergency PPE available now to CA dentists via TDSC

May 28, 2020
Emergency PPE available now to CA dentists via TDSC: 1 kit available to each licensed dentist - need to have...
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WLADS latest news

May 26, 2020
  For the latest WLADS news including two webinars this week, click here: https://bit.ly/2M1KBO4
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CE:Utilizing Social Media to Grow Your Practice

May 22, 2020
We invite you to join us for an online CE: Utilizing Social Media to Grow Your Practice. For more information...
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View our current e- blast

May 15, 2020
  If you missed WLADS’ recent e-blast, you can view it here: https://bit.ly/3cwM7Du
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ABC7 Interview with WLADS Board President Dr. Downs and the CDA’s Dr. Nagy

May 14, 2020
This week, WLADS Board President Dr. Downs and the CDA’s Dr. Nagy were interviewed by ABC7 about the new guidelines...
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Our latest electronic newsletter, ADA Return to Work Interim Guidance Toolkit and CDA Updates

April 29, 2020
  ADA Return to Work Interim Guidance Toolkit and CDA Updates - April 29, 2020   Hello WLADS, On Monday,...
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CDA Shares Steps to Prepare for Re-Opening and More WLADS News – April 21, 2020

April 21, 2020
  CDA Shares Steps to Prepare for Re-Opening and More WLADS News - April 21, 2020   Hello WLADS, We...
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Member Spotlight and COVID-19 Resource Update – April 16, 2020

April 16, 2020
  Member Spotlight and COVID-19 Resource Update - April 16, 2020   Hello WLADS, I hope that you are all...
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Message for WLADS Retired Members

April 7, 2020
Message for WLADS Retired Members Dear WLADS Members, As the 2020 Western Los Angeles Dental Society President, I want to...
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A Message from David Downs, DDS, 2020 WLADS President

April 2, 2020
A Message from David Downs, DDS, 2020 WLADS President Hello WLADS, I wanted to take a moment to reach out...
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News

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Tistaert Dental - 102 Years Strong

In 1889 my paternal grandfather, Gustave Arnold Tistaert, “Gus,” came to southern California from Brussels at the age of 7.

Gus’s grandfather, Albert Joseph Charle, was a famous Belgian architect, well known for the design of his own home. The house was aptly named the Charle-Albert Castle, giving credence to the adage that a man’s home is indeed his castle. Unfortunately, the castle was destroyed by fires and World War II bombings. In 2005 I was invited to visit the castle prior to its six million euro restoration.

Gus contracted polio in his teens and consequently walked with a limp and suffered from health issues. Despite that, he and my grandmother operated two general mercantile stores in Los Angeles and Oxnard. Gus was also a printer and owned a printing business. At age 35, Gus decided he wanted to become a dentist, graduating from USC Dental School in 1918. While in school, he won a gold scholarship key and received a gold watch for publishing the class annual.

My grandfather set up practice in downtown Los Angeles in proximity to what is now the Pershing Square Garage. He was in the Subway Terminal Building with its white tiled tunnel housing the underground electric rail line that brought thousands of workers and shoppers from East Los Angeles. Gus established an office with five physicians, all of whom were concerned about the aftereffects of polio on Gus’s health. Yet Dr. Gus outlived all five and practiced dentistry until he was 84. He and my grandmother lived in their own castle – a 32 room house on Hoover Street.

My grandfather was an early adopter in technology. He purchased a Victor x-ray machine that looked like something out of a science fiction movie. He took x-rays of teeth, but also of other body parts – arms, wrists, legs, chests – for his partner physicians’ patients. Eventually he upgraded to a more sophisticated GE x-ray machine, which he used on Clark Gable! Gus had before and after autographed pictures, extracted teeth and photographs of the dentures he made for Mr. Gable. When Gus wasn’t telling stories with Clark, to my grandmother’s chagrin, he could be seen at the horse racing track with Myrna Loy.

***

My father, Leslie Clinton Tistaert, played the piano professionally on the new media of radio. His parents wanted another dentist in the family rather than a musician, but they didn’t offer financial support for this goal. So my father paid for dental school by playing the piano, sometimes until the early morning hours, dragging himself to tests at school the next day.

In 1929 Leslie graduated from USC Dental School right into the throes of the Great Depression. He worked with Dr. Phelp, then with my grandfather, but encountered the same challenge: there were few patients. My father eventually set up an office in Ocean Park. Payment was often in the form of barter – chickens, eggs, rabbits, fish, clothing. Once a patient gave Leslie a wooden nickel in exchange for extracting his tooth.

The big band era musicians and singers knew my father from his piano playing days and he had a tremendous following. Leslie understood there were design and attributes to the teeth and jaws that only a musician could appreciate. He developed treatment concepts that maintained and enhanced musical sound and tone. Musicians flocked to him for dental care.

My father was also interested in technology. Around 1950 Leslie acquired an air driven dental handpiece from a New Zealand company. My father reasoned that if air sanders worked well on boats, a dental specialized air tool could also work on teeth.

As a dentist Leslie made a remarkable observation. He noticed that if one spouse had periodontal problems, the partner was likely to develop the same condition. He theorized that the cause may have been bacterial and began treating the periodontal issues with tetracycline. He noted improvement, but the problem tended to reoccur. This made him wonder if husband and wife were sharing the infection back and forth. Leslie mentioned this to a periodontist colleague, but due to the social mores of the 1950’s, he decided against public announcement. Today, of course, we recognize the link between microorganisms, transmissibility and periodontal disease.

***

My younger brother and I, a year apart in age, began working on boats from the time we were children. Father tasked us with sanding and fiberglassing his 32-foot boat. A neighboring boat owner, a North American Aviation employee, took pity on us and taught us how to fiberglass. Our upbringing was strict, consistent with Father’s experience in the Depression, and I was required to pay room and board by age 12. After school and on weekends, I worked in a wooden boat building yard, becoming skilled in the utilization of table, band, and skill saws, jointers, planers and disk sanders.

One of my jobs was to putty screw heads, then sand them flush with the surface. Filling and finishing 1,500 screw heads paid $150. Compare that to 1,500 silver fillings that paid my dad $12,000. Nevertheless, I liked building boats.

On a special one-year program, I attended regular high school classes and studied machining and welding at Santa Monica College. After graduation I continued my studies at SMC and added engineering, in preparation for a mechanical engineering degree. I transferred to USC engineering and hoped to attend the Stevens Institute next for a Masters in naval architecture. My father and grandfather had other ideas though, insisting that one of us – my brother or I – follows in the family business. Reluctantly, I became a dentist, graduating from USC Dental School in 1965.

Like my father, who attracted musician patients, my lifetime involvement with boating brought many yacht owners, commercial fishermen, tugboat owners and marine service people to my practice. A special honor was treating Donald Douglas of Douglas Aircraft Company and his family. The company swelled to 150,000 aircraft employees during World War II.  Douglas Aircraft built many famous planes like the DC3 and original passenger jet DC8 series. I also had three billionaire patients. One of them brought in an armaments dealer unannounced – and wanted me to clean his teeth. I learned that the arms dealer had constructed a 283-foot yacht, “Nabila” – and it was used in a James Bond film. The yacht would be later purchased by Donald Trump and renamed “Trump Princess.”

In the late 60’s, I decided to build my own boat. A WWII naval architect and I designed a 42-footer and tested the prototype in the MIT test tank. At the time, it was the fastest diesel powered boat on the Pacific coast.

I next tried my hand with a land project. In 1975 I purchased a Santa Monica downtown property and designed and built a dental office building. It has been my dental home for over forty years. There is, however, no fourth generation to continue the dental legacy. The practice and building are both “for sale.” Although I initially became a dentist to please my family, the profession has been great. I have met and interacted with so many interesting people, patients and colleagues alike.

For the latest WLADS news and a CDA renewal reminder, please click here: bit.ly/3ihDhwW #MondayMotivation ...

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Friendly Friday Reminder: Our Shred Event has been postponed. We will share the new date when it is confirmed. Thank you and have a nice weekend. ...

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Calling all oral surgeons, periodontists and dental professions! We invite you to our live CE focusing on the latest anesthesia updates featuring Dr. Alan Budenz. This lecture is designed for anyone who wishes to expand their understanding of the newest pharmacologic agents and delivery techniques of local anesthesia. Register here: bit.ly/2N5gWnT ...

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