Here’s the key graphic as discussed in my lecture for Colgate. Click the image to view full size.
What is it about the media and dentists? Let me put it this way: when was the last time you saw a film or TV programme featuring a kind, caring, sensitive normal dentist?
How about Ricky Gervais in Ghost Town, the dentist who’s able to see the ghosts that haunt New York…or Jennifer Aniston in Horrible Bosses, as a sex-crazed dentist who harasses her staff and patients? Or Robert Lindsay in TV comedy My Family, the slightly-odd head of a crazily dysfunctional family…who happens to be a dentist?
Probably the most famous screen dentist was Laurence Olivier in Marathon Man, administering torture of the teeth to Dustin Hoffman. Kids too, are subject to evil dentist stereotypes. Willy Wonka’s father, played by Christopher Lee in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, for example (although he does say one of my favourite film lines: “Lollipops. Ought to be called cavities on a stick!”). Even in the wonderful Finding Nemo, the baddie is a dentist!
All I can think is that Hollywood must be full of wicked, malevolent dentists. That, or almost every scriptwriter had a bad experience as a child…
For my own part, I’ve always found the media a pleasure to work with. Whenever I’ve been the ‘TV dentist’ appearing on breakfast TV’s red sofa or give a professional dentist’s opinion on various news items, the people I’ve met have been thoroughly pleasant, highly professional and very good at what they do. Rather like most of the dentists I know.
So here and now, I’d like to start a campaign to change the image of dentistry in TV and film. I think it’s time we dentists got a break – after all, right now there’s a dentist somewhere in the world relieving someone’s pain or giving them a smile to be proud of.
If you agree, whether you’re a dentist or not, show your support by Tweeting #DentistsAreTheNiceGuys.
Oh, and if you’re a Hollywood director looking to cast a normal, well-adjusted, non-psychotic dentist, I am available…