Dentistry in Pop Culture
When most roles provided to the identities of dentistry within our literature and films are those of darkness and depravity, it’s no wonder that we often harbor a secret fear of paying the dentist’s office a visit. It’s a sad situation that likely started the other way around. While there have been true historical instances wherein dentistry lent itself to such human elements of darkness, these were perversions of a medicinal craft and are in no honest way emblematic of it. For an experience of real dentistry, come in for a Tulsa teeth cleaning and meet some of the kindest, most competent dentists around!
If you grew up watching television, as so many of us have, then you are likely familiar with some of the more morbid portrayals of dentistry within television and film. In a moment, we’ll take a look at some of the more iconic displays of this. However, there are other presentations of dentistry and dentists within popular culture that many of us are far less aware of. It is these instances which we will look at first, for not only are they less commonly seen but they also lend a kinder and more honest light towards the professional craft of oral hygiene.
For instance, did you know that Mark Spitz, a nine-time Olympic champion, had been accepted into dentistry prior to his Olympian career? When Michael Phelps become a modern phenomenon, this is the Olympian who many sought to compare him with. While it’s nice to see a public hero who had aspired to dentistry, it’s not quite the same as seeing the role filled on the big screen by someone of a similar nature. Sad though it may be, fiction often impacts us more than real life. For a glimpse into how that looks, you might recall a movie titled “Ghost Town.”
This movie starred Ricky Gervais as Dr. Bertam Pincus, a very irritable and socially disconnected dentist. That, at least, is how is character is in the beginning. Throughout the movie, we see a blossoming of Ricky’s role into a healthier, kinder, human being. Throughout all of it, his career as a dentist feels more like an element of ambiance than the central focus of the story. While this doesn’t have the counter-balancing force to the more nefarious TV scenes of dentistry that might be displayed by some dentist using their science to save the world, it is still a much gentler display of the craft than the film industry usual provides us.
Sadly, it is much more common to see absurd and cruel displays of this profession within the entertainment industry. Take the classic play and movie, “Little Shop of Horrors,” for instance. Steve Martin played the part of an utterly mad and sadistic dentist, with a definite flair for styling himself after Elvis, in the first film adaptation of this famous play. He brought the crowd everything that has become the typical expectation of dentistry in films. Not so focused as Sweeny Todd, but just as dark, in his own way. These are great examples of who not to get your Tulsa teeth cleaning from!
While we, as entertainment consumers, seem to revel in this sinister display of dentistry, it’s essential that we remember these characters are an intentional absurdity when compared with modern dentistry. They harken to dark times of terrible wars, but beyond that, they provide a stark contrast with the reality. Pick a dentist at random and what you’ll find is merely another human being who has specialized in a career that involves helping you keep your teeth and gums for as long as possible. So, don’t let these flicks and shows keep you from getting your twice-yearly Tulsa teeth cleaning. Schedule an appointment today!