“Tickle the Ivories – Artificers of Unique Dentrifice Compounds & Bespoke Brosse à Dents”
I’m all smiles! My favorite post-lunch dental café finally re-opened!
If you frequented the original incarnation, InΨsor, prepare yourself for change — the shop rebooted with a whole new look.
Now called Tickle the Ivories — less clinical, much more warm and inviting. If the idea of a dental café is new to you, this is the perfect introduction.
The stainless steel booths and vinyl exam chairs are gone, in favor of a pub-like setting, with reclaimed oak paneling, frosted glass, and leather banquette seating.
White lab coats have given way to scarlet hunting jackets with brass buttons.
The mouthwash lab has transformed into an 19th c. apothecary’s shop — rows of colorful bottles, canisters, decanters, and vials, that wouldn’t look out of place on Diagon Alley.
The cleaning shrimp tank is gone (most customers could not hold their breath long enough for a thorough job), and in its place, there’s a warm coppery glow from the far corner, where floral distillates drip from a wood-fired, vintage still.
Patrons are invited to fill their antique pewter tankards from a row of casks, flasks, kegs, firkins, and puncheons – – filled with various proprietary gargles, herbal rinses, and tinctures.
In keeping with the Victorian vibe, discretely-positioned spittoons are plentiful.
A mixologist is on hand, and we sampled her newest creation — a mint, vodka, and anchovy decoction — a refreshing eye-opener, with a complex and smoky aftertaste.
An impressive selection of drinkable mouth refreshers. The picture is a bit grainy – – the shop’s activated charcoal grinder was in full swing!
Toothpaste selections are now totally a la carte — as always, many of the pastes & powders are fresh-ground, and custom-mixed right at your table, but for those of us in a rush, who’ve already spent two hours at lunch, and need to get back to work, an express counter is happy to blend premixed commercial brands.
My current favorite when you’re in a rush: 50/50 swirl blending Tim’s of Maine, with Colgrate Total Gel, and an Avon Springs chaser. The slightly alkaline grittiness of Tim’s contrasts perfectly with the pervasive minty sweetness of the Colgrate.
A vintage steam-powered espresso toothpaste dispenser chugs away in the corner.
The selection of hand-crafted artisanal brushes has expanded, to include not just the usual shredded birch, willow, and sarsaparilla root, but also boar-bristle (certified to be drawn from appropriate, hygenic parts of the boar).
The “Ben Franklin”
Artisan-crafted toothbrush of copper, brass, and recycled bamboo
Tongue loofahs and horsehair exfoliators can be flash-sterilized while you shop, so you can use them in the car on the way home.
I declined to try another popular tongue-scraper, a re-purposed leather & brass horse bit, but certainly an attractive accessory for a rustic powder room.
Shot glasses display the work of a local artist and blacksmith — handwrought steel toothpicks, modeled on lightning rods and finials found on local barns.
(And currently working on a fabulous line of retro-cast-iron orthodontics!)
Fans of InΨsor will be glad to hear the owners retained the “Bright, White, And Brown Room” combining UV with an infrared sauna, so patrons can tan, sweat, and bleach their teeth all in one go!
The staff is wonderful. When flossing with one of their newest experiments, recycled sorghum stalk, proved to be a bit too challenging — but before we could even voice our disappointment, and indeed, before we were able to talk — an attentive server-clinician was instantly by our side to assist, with tweezers and a pick, and then placed a substitute tray of raw unbleached organic silk fiber in front of us, gratis.
If you’re in town this summer, and fond of traditional foods that are troublesome for smiles, like kale salad, barbeque, and corn-on-the-cob, Tickle the Ivories Café, and it’s gift shop, The Tongue-in-Cheek, are the perfect post-meal solutions.
In the woodland behind the shop, staff conduct “Learn to Trust Dental Floss” workshops. Here I’m testing their proprietary Kevlar 8-ply.