Depictions of Dentists in Movies - Pop Culture and Hollywood Dentistry

Published: 12th October 2009
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Dentists in movies are depicted in many different ways, but most of the time the Hollywood depictions of dentists can be far off from the truth. Throughout cinematic history dentists have been shown in a negative light through images and stereotypes. Dentists are often portrayed in movies as being incompetent, immoral, goofy, and even sometimes corrupt. Even though the profession is widely thought of as a necessity for day to day life, many people still have a deep fear and or anxiety to go see their dentist. Movies that portray dentists in this negative light overall have a high affect on the people who watch them.

Then we come to The Disney Company, who usually portray their dentists as scatter brains, loving, and or intelligent characters. In the hit 1997 Kristie Alley movie "Toothless," we are shown a strong self-absorbed women dentist who after her untimely death is forced to become the Tooth Fairy. What is so interesting about this movie is the way Disney depicted death for dentists. Apparently, since all dentists make their patients feel pain, they go straight to Hell regardless if they were "good" people or not, forcing Kristie's character to become the Tooth Fairy. Throughout this movie Kristie's character is confronted with her own personal decisions to why she became a dentist and how she lived her life. In the end she realizes the joy her job not only brought her but her patients.

In 2003 Pixar came out with the movie "Finding Nemo" where a lost little Nemo (a clown fish) ended up being caught and added to an aquarium in the dentist's office. This movie portrayed dentists as being a little cocky, obsessive, scatter brained, and sometimes cruel from the fish's perspective. This movie not only influences the children who watch this movie, but also their parents. Depictions made in this fashion help add to the anxiety and fear people feel about going to the dentist.

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