Chew on This: Dental Myths and Misconceptions

Staff at the dentist office at work

Chew on This: Dental Myths and Misconceptions

Most people do not look forward to seeing their dentist. Surveys about the most loved or hated professions are often not kind to dentists.

Perhaps this is why dentists are sometimes portrayed as sinister characters in movies. For example, in Little Shop of Horrors, Steve Martin plays Orin, the evil dentist. In one song, he quotes his mom, singing: “You have a talent for causin’ things pain. Son, be a dentist. People will pay you to be inhumane.”

And how about the sadistic dentist (played by Laurence Olivier) interrogating and torturing Dustin Hoffman’s character with a dental drill (and no anesthesia) in Marathon Man? These characters seem to play on the fear many people have of seeing their dentist and getting dental care that may be painful.

While it’s true that going to the dentist isn’t at the top of things I do for fun, it usually isn’t that bad. Unlike Orin, my dentist is great about making sure I’m numb before getting to work.

Dentists, of course, just want to do what’s best for their patients’ oral health. Your experience at the dentist should generally be pain free, given modern medications and procedures.

There are lots of other myths about teeth out there. Perhaps you’ve wondered about how to whiten stained teeth or what people mean when they say they have “soft teeth.” Maybe you never had a chance to ask your dentist—it’s hard to do when your mouth is full of instruments!

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