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Dental Pop Culture, Part 1


You might not realize this, but the dental profession is frequently portrayed in movies and television shows. As a dentist, I pick up on all of these scenes and even collect them, because I love seeing the stereotypes and hilarious/terrifying ways people view the dental experience. Even though the overwhelming majority of pop culture scenes have something negative to say about me, I still can’t get enough of them. For the first installment of Dental Pop Culture on my blog, I’d like to share five of my favorite dental scenes. Enjoy!


Finding Nemo

This scene takes place when Nemo finds himself in a dental office aquarium while the dentist is performing a root canal procedure. The fish have clearly watched root canals many times and are able to comment intelligently on the dental armamentarium and critique the technique and instrument selection employed by the dentist.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

In the North Pole the elves are busily building toys and gearing up for the Christmas season. Misfit elf Hermey gets chastised by his supervisor for not focusing hard enough on his toy making. Hermey just can’t keep his mind on toys because he dreams of studying dentistry and declares “Someday I’d like to be . . . a dentist!”


What would you do if you were stranded on a desert island and had a tooth abscess. Tom Hanks’ character finds himself in exactly this predicament in Castaway. Luckily, he also has a whole supply of lost Fed Ex packages, including a box containing a set of ice skates . . .

The Man Who Knew Too Much

My favorite director ever is Alfred Hitchcock. Yes, these movies are old, but they’re all amazing on several levels. In this classic Hitchcock thriller, an innocent couple gets inadvertently tangled up in an international assassination attempt. In my favorite scene, the protagonist resists an attack in a dental office and turns the tables on the bad guys. The whole movie is contained in the clip below, but you can fast forward to the 26:35 mark for the dental scene.


Kramer goes to the dentist to have some work done and his mouth numbness takes a long time to wear off. Kramer goes through some funny conversations involving his non-functioning lip muscles before the hilarious climax where he is sang to by Mel Torme at a meeting for Able Mentally Challenged Adults. Bonus cameo: can you identify the man who plays the dentist? He’s one of my favorite actors.

-Nicolas K. Young, DMD

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