Have you ever seen a movie about a dentist? Well, there are several movies that have featured dentists in one capacity or another. Dentists are a regular part of lifelong routines. Almost every child can say something about their last dental visit.
People remember having cavities filled, receiving fluoride, and getting their picture posted on a wall for not having any cavities each visit. But the history of dentists in movies runs a wide range between positive and friendly to downright deadly. Here are some of Hollywood’s most famous dentists we’ve all seen on the big screen!
This beloved children’s movie has a dentist that plays a role that is minor compared to the fish involved. However, he does help to move the plot along. His niece, Darla, is the main villain is who is known for shaking fish in their bags prior to being put in the aquarium.
Although Darla was not anyone’s favorite character, the dentist’s office was clean and portrayed that not all dentists have it bad. Fish tanks are fairly common in dentist offices around the world, so it was interesting to see the dentistry world through the eyes of some very adventurous fish.
This is a movie that portrays a dentist, but not performing his profession. Alan Arkin stars as a dentist who cares for his daughter and supports her upcoming marriage. However, her father-in-law, played by Peter Falk, is quite mad and enlists him on a number of dangerous adventures and hair-brained schemes.
Arkin’s portrayal is not at all connected to the pain and fear usually associated with the profession. Instead, it is seen as a normal, stable profession, a contrast to Falk’s exciting and dangerous life. While it does not deeply analyze the nature of the profession, it does present a good contrast to the sadistic dentists of other famous movies.
The Little Shop of Horrors
This is a classic movie in every respect. It has singing, ensemble casts, and a tongue-in-cheek sensibility that remains relevant to this very day. While many people may remember the man-eating plant, Audrey II, not as many people remember that the main setting of that movie was in a dentist’s office.
The movie compounded everyone’s fear of the dentist by having Steve Martin play the main character, a dentist. Martin’s character is a sadistic, abusive boyfriend of Audrey, and his love of noxious gas ends up being his undoing. He is almost exclusively attached to the pain commonly associated with his profession.
The Secret Lives of Dentists
This movie realistically depicts the life and work of dentists. Campbell Scott and Hope Davis star as two dentists with rich, satisfying lives who are also productive members of their community. They suffer personal setbacks and serious conflicts in their marriage, with Hope’s character engaging in infidelity, and Campbell’s character struggling with his own past.
He even continues to see hallucinations of one of his old patients who caused him particular problems. However, both characters continue to keep an eye on their practice and their family.
Dentists here are seen as the real people they actually are, with none of the sadism or obsession that characterize many other dentist portrayals. There is a good chance that this would be rated the best depiction of dentists in film if dentists were polled on this question.
Hollywood & Dentistry
As a dentist, Dr. Chris Mott has seen it all. He does his very best to create the best atmosphere for all of his patients and to avoid all of the stereotypes of the scary dentists of Hollywood. We think the movie industry needs more positive portrayals of dentists.
Dentists are helpful, productive members of society who fulfill an essential role in keeping us all healthy and safe. Movies should focus on these attributes more than on the pain and fear usually associated with the profession. A message to future movie producers: ask Dr. Chris Mott to do your dental work and maybe you won’t have to make such scary movies about dentistry!