Dentists with Sex Appeal: Hollywood’s New Obsession

Star dentists with sex appealThe entertainment world has been abuzz in the past week with news of not one but two stars soon to play sexy dentists.

Jennifer Aniston will appear in the upcoming movie Horrible Bosses, where she will play a sexually aggressive dentist who doesn’t show much respect for sexual harassment laws.

It’s said that the role will show a new side of Aniston, typically known for playing the “good girl.” Though the character will no doubt be randy, Aniston has denied rumors that she will appear topless in the movie.

On the small screen, John Stamos will join the cast of the hit TV show Glee next season. The musical series about a high school glee club has been this year’s breakout television hit.

Stamos – known both for playing Uncle Jesse on the classic show Full House and his marriage to supermodel Rebecca Romijn – will play the love interest of high school guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury.

This just might be good for dentistry; some celebrity appeal could increase interest in the profession. (Now, if only CSI creator Jerry Bruckheimer would launch a show about dentists…)

The Sedation Dentist – As Seen on TV’s ‘Glee’

Sedation dentistry on TV show 'Glee'There’s a new dentist on the pop culture scene! “Dr. Carl” has joined the cast of TV’s ‘Glee.’

In last week’s Britney/Brittany episode, the whole glee club has musical fantasies about pop star Britney Spears while under the influence of Dr. Carl’s hallucinogen-laced sedation dentistry.

Sedation Dentistry on Glee

The popular TV show chronicles the adventures of a high school glee club. One of the school’s teachers is dating Dr. Carl, a local dentist played by John Stamos.

The dentist visits the glee club for a dental outreach, where he discovers that some of the students have terrible teeth. Cheerleader Brittany’s are the worst of the bunch.

Brittany: “I don’t brush my teeth. I rinse my mouth out with soda after I eat. I was pretty sure Dr. Pepper was a dentist.

Brittany goes to visit Dr. Carl for treatment.

Dr. Carl: “So, Brittany, you, uh… You have the worst teeth I’ve ever seen. You have cavities in every single tooth. That’s got to be some sort of record.
Brittany: “Please don’t pull all my teeth. When I smile I’ll look like an adult baby…”
Dr. Carl: “All right, we’ll put you under a little general anesthesia – you won’t feel a thing.”
Brittany: “Like roofies?”
Dr. Carl: “Yeah, totally.”

While Brittany is sedated, she has vivid musical dreams of Britney Spears. When the cheerleader wakes up, Dr. Carl tells her that she’ll have to come back the next day, as he wasn’t able to fill all of her 68 cavities.

When cheerleader Santana accompanies her friend Brittany, Dr. Carl is reluctant to work on Santana, as she has perfect teeth. But the cheerleader is determined, telling the dentist, “Get up in my grill, ‘cuz Brits and I wants to get our anesthesia on!

All of the students visit the dentist, and all have musical fantasies of Britney Spears. The reason for this is explained later in the episode:

Artie: “The nitrous oxide dentist uses a mild hallucinogen.”

“Studies have proven that it induces vivid dreams,” the student explains. “Often the last thing the patient thinks of, the subconscious moves to the forefront. Since we’ve all been thinking so much about Britney, you know, it stands to reason…”

Sedation Dentistry in Real Life

Of course, people who watch this episode will hopefully understand that it does not accurately represent sedation dentistry. The “hallucinogen” reference makes it clear that Dr. Carl is not your average sedation dentist.

Nonetheless, from a dental perspective, a few aspects of this episode are troubling.

Most bothersome is the ambiguity between general anesthesia and nitrous oxide sedation. Dr. Carl tells Brittany he’s giving her general anesthesia – and there’s no anesthesiologist, no oxygen monitors, no assistant. Later in the episode, we learn that Dr. Carl in fact uses nitrous oxide.

The difference between general anesthesia and nitrous oxide was at the heart of a dentist’s recent lawsuit against Yelp reviewers. The dentist sedated a child with nitrous oxide and put in an amalgam filling. The child’s parents later posted extremely negative comments about the dentist, saying she had used too much general anesthesia on the child. (The pediatric dentist does not offer general anesthesia.) The parents were also upset that the dentist used a filling that contained mercury, although they had signed a consent form saying as much prior to the child’s treatment.

The Consequences of Dr. Carl

The fact is, Dr. Carl is now the most visible dentist in today’s pop culture landscape.

As a profession, dentists could do a lot worse. John Stamos’s Dr. Carl is handsome, charming and funny. He’s not nerdy or awkward or cruel. Refreshingly, he doesn’t at all play into the ‘Marathon Man’ stereotype of dentists as pathological sadists.

Dr. Carl is giving sedation dentistry a lot more exposure than it normally gets. On the one hand, it’s great to let people know that sleeping through their dental work is a viable option. On the other hand, this is clearly not an accurate representation of sedation dentistry.

And What about You?

Do you think TV viewers are savvy enough to realize how Dr. Carl’s “treatment” differs from real-life sedation dentistry?

Have any of your patients mentioned ‘Glee’ and Dr. Carl to you? Is Dr. Carl an asset when it comes to dental marketing?

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