Marie Ritelis was eating dinner in her McLean home Monday night when she bit into a piece of bread and out came a tooth.

Only it wasn't hers.

"Gee, it's a tooth!" Ritelis said she told her husband. "When you realize you've got someone else's tooth in your mouth, wouldn't that upset your dinner?"

So Ritelis did what anyone would do if they found someone else's tooth -- in this case, a false one -- in their bread. She called the baker.

The manager at Michel's Baguette, a Toronto-based chain that sells specialty breads baked in French ovens at Fair Oaks Mall, at first was incredulous. "He just thought I was nuts," Ritelis said.

But Ritelis said she had the evidence: one false tooth and a bridge that looked as if it once had held three teeth.

Still worse, her loaf of peasant bread had only one tooth in it, and she was worried that the others might pop up in other loaves or in the croissants and brioche baked at the store. "In view of the fact that everybody's finding something in their food these days," she said, she decided to call Tuesday and warn the store again.

The manager was still skeptical. He said there was "no way" the bridge could have survived the store's dough machine, Ritelis said. She persisted and the manager, who told her it was unlikely the bridge belonged to any of his young employes, agreed to investigate.

Later he called back and apologized: One of his employes had put his broken bridge in his shirt pocket, he said, and it apparently slipped into the dough when he leaned over.

"At first nobody said it was theirs," the manager, Barry Kamrad, 24, said yesterday. "I was real upset about it."

"I meant the man no malice," Ritelis said, adding that the least the store could do was send someone to pick up the tooth.

"The bread was good. I liked the bread until my wife found the tooth," said her husband, Andy Ritelis, a painting contractor. "The bread I had was real good, nice and crusty."

His wife agreed. "I mean the bread was delicious . . . up to a point."Researcher Caroline Johnston contributed to this report.