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The Dentist Episode

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I had to go to the dentist.
I had to go today,
But don't you worry (worry);
Everything is okay.
I had to have a tooth pulled,
So they gave me a shot.
Soon my mouth will be working fine, but right now it's not.
Songdrops, "The Dentist Song"
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An episode format where a character has to visit the dentist. The most common reason for this is having a cavity or a broken tooth, although sometimes they are just on a checkup. This trope is especially common in children's media. Usually a child character will get a cavity but be terrified of dentists, however they will learn that dentists aren't as scary as they thought and will probably learn about proper dental care. The child character may also have a loose tooth, resulting in this overlapping with a Loose Tooth Episode.

Compare to The Tonsillitis Episode, which is very similar. Like its sister trope, this trope is less apparent than it used to be however it will still appear. Sometimes overlaps with Sick Episode. Can also overlap with DIY Dentistry if the patient attempted to pull the tooth out before going to the dentist.

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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • One chapter in Gintama has Gintoki and Hijikata, two adult men being scared as hell of the dentist. Not helping is the dentist they're visiting that chapter is a Depraved Dentist with visibly rotten teeth himself, uses weaponized robots to perform surgery, and transfers their pain to two old ladies.
  • In My Monster Secret, the demon Akane has to go to the dentist because of a toothache, and she goes to severe length to avoid it. That includes time travelling to dinosaur age. And the pain made her lose control of her power, resulting in meteors falling to earth and a very bad day for Youko.
  • In one episode of Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, Tuff need to go to the dentist for his tooth cavity. It ends with King Dedede ordering a dentist robot from the NME Corp which, as usual, turns evil.
  • Volume 4 of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: Kanna's Daily Life has a short bonus chapter where Saikawa goes to the dentist for a cavity and Kanna accompanies her for emotional support (and helping her open her mouth wider by holding her hand).
  • In one episode of Yo-Kai Watch Nate gets a cavity and has to visit the dentist. However instead of him being scared, the dentist is the frightened one. A youkai made him fearful of teeth.
  • In Doki Doki Pretty Cure, Makoto gets a cavity in one episode and is afraid to go to the dentist because of the drills. At the same time, they're also trying to get her to set a good example for Ai-chan, who has started to grow in her first teeth and needs to learn to tolerate them being brushed.
  • Sailor Moon has two examples, one from the manga and one from the anime. Both stories are very similar in that both Chibi-Usa and Usagi get cavities (with Usagi being afraid of the dentist and Chibi-Usa not even knowing what cavities are because she didn't get them in her time period) and go to a seemingly-nice dental office, only to find out that the dentist is actually an enemy. In the manga version, it's a side story where the dentist is an evil spirit that purposely gives people cavities, whereas in the anime, it's a regular episode of Super S where Palla-Palla is the one who created the fake dentist's office using dolls.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Happy Heroes Season 3 episode 42, Doctor H. has a cavity and has to go to the dentist. Naturally, Big M., the Big Bad, tries to mess with him by taking the role of a dentist.
  • Our Friend Xiong Xiao Mi: One of the episodes is about Booker the alligator eating too many lollipops and having to visit the dentist because of it.

    Comic Books 
  • Archie Comics: One story in Little Archie has him hiding away from a dental checkup. Under the pressure of his father, he goes anyway. The funny part is, it's his dad who gets the dental treatment instead of Archie. In the end, Archie being Archie, he stretches the truth to his friends that his dad lost his tooth from a judo match.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: "Etta Candy and Her Holliday Girls: The Toothache" revolves around Etta trying to get to the Dentist to deal with a sore tooth, that once she finally arrives needs pulling. She just happens to run into some mobsters running a con along her way and has to deal with that before she can carry on her way.
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    Comic Strips 
  • Foxtrot:
    • One arc centered around Jason visiting the dentist and potentially requiring braces. We don't see the visit, as the story focuses on Paige and Peter wondering how much more annoying he'll become with braces (including dressing up as a Terminator due to being "0.0002 cyborg").
    • In one strip, Jason is heard screaming offscreen at the dentist's. When his mother goes to see what's happening, the dentist informs her he found a cavity.
      Jason: I'm FLAWED, mother! Aaaaaaaahhhh!
    • One strip has Paige making herself a limburger, garlic and chopped onion sandwich. When Peter wrinkles his nose and recalls that she had a dentist appointment later, she replies that she likes to keep them short.

    Literature 
  • Roys Bedoys: “Let’s Go to the Dentist, Roys Bedoys!” is all about Roys going to the dentist against his will.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Brady Bunch: Season 3’s “The Not-So-Rose-Colored Glasses” (where Jan gets glasses) saw Mike and Alice use a dentist appointment as a diversionary to get Carol out of the house so the kids could get a picture taken (for an anniversary gift).
  • The B-Plot in the City Guys episode "Shock Jock" involves El-Train getting a toothache early on in the episode, with Cassidy strong-arming him into going to a dentist due to his fear of seeing one. He gets over his fear late in the episode... after realizing that the dentist he's scheduled to see is a beautiful young woman.
    El-Train: Bring it on, doc. My teeth are all yours.
  • One of famed comedian Danny Kaye's last screen appearances was an episode of The Cosby Show where Rudy's friend Peter has to visit the dentist. Rudy and Cliff tag along to show him that there's nothing to be scared of. Kaye and Cosby end up engaging in Ham-to-Ham Combat, as Cliff goes through an examination to demonstrate how easy it is.
  • Family Matters: The A-plot of “Good Cop, Bad Cop” (Eddie being racially profiled by an overzealous police officer and his rookie partner) was as dramatic and relevant as any in the series run ... but what would this show be without slapstick comedy involving the resident nerd? That comes in the B-plot, where Urkel takes a worrier Richie to the dentist to show him there’s not a thing to worry about ... except that the gas used to sedate patients could make you completely loopy and cause you to drive the dentist absolutely crazy.
  • In the B-Plot of the Good Luck Charlie episode, "Charlie in Charge", P.J. is afraid of going to the dentist for an appointment, and since Bob has to take Amy to the spa (with a side-stop to get rid of a possum, later revealed to be a skunk), Teddy has to take P.J. to the dentist. She does so by tricking him into thinking she broke her tooth. This leaves Gabe and Jo to look after Charlie until they get back. Because P.J. puts up quite a fight, Teddy's tooth is broken for real, and thus both Teddy and P.J. have to spend the rest of the day at the dentist.
  • In the iCarly episode "iThink They Kissed" Sam tells Carly she hasn't seen a dentist in over 12 years which leaves Carly to take Sam to the same dentist she and Spencer visit. Sam winds up attacking the dentist out of panic and anxiety so he gives her a sedative before replacing a tooth and filling three cavities. The episode's second half kicks off when Sam, still heavily sedated, tells Carly that she kissed Freddie once.
  • In the Married... with Children episode "Tooth and Consequences", Al gets a toothache for the first time in ages, and goes to the dentist. The dentist is bitter over his wife divorcing him and his lover being a Gold Digger. Needless to say, it doesn't end well for Al. Making matters worse for Al, Peg finally caves and cooks a meal for her family, and Al can't eat it because of the effects of his dentist trip.
  • In the M*A*S*H episode, "The Tooth Shall Set You Free", Charles had a toothache and would not see a dentist. Near the end, the black officer who helped them resolve the B-plot of the episode (a racist colonel who intentionally sends black soldiers on the most dangerous missions, so they either get killed or get more rotation points so they can be discharged faster) is revealed to be a dentist. The tag at the end has Hawkeye treating the dentist because Charles bit his finger.
  • Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: Mr. Rogers comes along with Marylin Barnett and her nephew as he visits the dentist in episode 1416. In episode 1629, he would go in for his own checkup. Both episodes deal with proper oral hygiene as well as fear of the dentist.
  • A darker version of this trope appears in Monk. In the episode Mr. Monk Goes to The Dentist, Adrian Monk has to prove Lieutenant Disher witnessed a murder as he was going under for oral surgery. In order to investigate, Monk has to face his phobia of dentists and go undercover as a patient.
  • After causing some hijinks for being late from his dental appointment, Mr. Bean tries to fix his own cavities after accidentally sedating his dentist, sticking his jaw shut when trying to seal them. The animated series uses the same plot with different gags, but with the premise involving tooth replacement.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: The B-plot of "Invention Convention" revolves around Inspector Brackenreid's aching tooth and his avoidance of the dreaded dentist's drill. His wife books him an appointment and accompanies him, but he has Constable Higgins interrupt with a vague work excuse to summon him away. Meanwhile, he's been using cocaine and heroin to dull the pain, with mood swings and drowsiness ensuing. Constable Crabtree comes upon Higgins outside the dentist's office and sends his colleague away on the errand Murdoch had just assigned him. Then he enters the dentist's office, tells the inspector that he isn't needed right away, and picks up a nearby apple, taking a bite as he leaves. Brackenreid is heard hollering in agony in the background as Crabtree pauses outside the dental office. Later in the episode (once the pain has subsided), Brackenreid grudgingly praises Crabtree for his guts in acting as he did.
  • Given that one of the main characters is a dentist, My Family inverts this with plots started by guest characters visiting the dentist.
  • In the Power Rangers: Beast Morphers episode "Thrills and Drills", Ravi ends up getting a toothache and needs to go to the dentist as the pain is getting in the way of being a Ranger. However, the poor guy's terrified of dentists after a bad experience. It takes watching Nate push through his fear of spiders to convince himself to get it over with.
  • One episode of That's So Raven sees Corey afraid of the dentist. Raven ends up taking him, but doesn't share that she's had a vision of the dentist looking into his mouth and saying he has a cavity. She was right to keep it a secret...because she's the one who the dentist was talking to in the vision. It turns out she's just as afraid of the drill, and the two end up running away and posing as dentists themselves to try and escape.

    Literature 
  • In The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist, Sister has a loose tooth, and Brother has a dentist appointment at Dr. Bearson's around the same time. Brother tells Sister that if she doesn't get her loose tooth out by the time they go to the dentist, Dr. Bearson will yank it out, frightening her. Karma catches up with Brother when it is revealed that he has a small cavity, and has to have Dr. Bearson fill it for him. Afterwards, Dr. Bearson gently helps Sister pull out her loose tooth so she can put it under her pillow for the Tooth Fairy. This book was also adapted into an episode of the 2003 Animated Adaptation.
  • The Dora the Explorer book "Show Me Your Smile!: A Visit to the Dentist" revolves around Dora going to the dentist and showing the reader how her appointment goes.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth has a scene where Greg switches dentists from his pediatric dentist (whom Greg has a crush on) to an intimidating dentist named Dr. Kagan, who thinks soda is really bad and gave Greg headgear that he showed no evidence of needing.
  • In Dirty Bertie, the story "Toothy!" focuses on Bertie and Susie's dental checkup. Bertie overhears the dentist talking about putting his dog down and thinks he's talking about him.
  • Little Critter: In Just Going to the Dentist, Little Critter has a dentist appointment and is shown going through his visit, culminating in the reveal he has a cavity which he faces his fears over.
  • Open Wide! A Visit to the Denist is a book based on Rugrats. In this book, Angelica and Susie go to the dentist to get their teeth checked.
  • Behold No Cavities A Visit To The Dentist is a book based on SpongeBob SquarePants. SpongeBob, who visits the dentist every six months and regularly gets his name on the "No Cavi-Tree" invites Patrick, who has never been to the dentist, or even brushed or flossed his teeth, to Dr. Gill's office for his first dental appointment. SpongeBob is devastated to find out from a phone call the next day that he has four cavities, only to later find out that Dr. Gill's receptionist mixed up his and Patrick's X-rays.
  • The Hercule Poirot novel One, Two, Buckle My Shoe starts with Poirot visiting his dentist. He subsequently has to investigate the murder of that dentist.
  • One of the chapters in Astrid Lindgren's Emil of Lönneberga books has Emil making several attempts to remove the aching tooth of Lina the maid.

    Music 

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Bill Cosby's concert film Bill Cosby: Himself contains a skit about a visit to the dentist, in which he voices both a hapless patient and the dentist through use of exaggerated voices, facial expressions, and sound effects. Notably, he uses the Mushmouth voice to portray the effects of Novocain.

    Video Games 
  • Wario's story in WarioWare Touched! has Wario chewing through a large amount of sweets until he rots his teeth out. He takes a trip to Dr. Payne's Dental Clinic who cleans and fixes his teeth before warning him to stay away from the sweets. At the end of the story he brushes off Dr. Payne's advice and orders ten pies before rotting his teeth again. He returns to Dr. Payne who said he expected Wario would return.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • The Abby Hatcher episode "Abby's Afraid" has Abby get her first loose tooth on the same day she has an appointment with the dentist Dr. Anna, and she's afraid to see her as she thinks she'll want to pull the tooth out, so she tries to avoid her with Fuzzly emergencies.
  • Adventure Time episode "Dentist" plays with this. The episode opens with Finn refusing to "go dentist" to fix his toothache. The show being what it is, it turns out that "going dentist" means "working as a mercenary for an ant colony in exchange for dental work", and the episode focuses on fighting and Teeth-Clenched Teamwork (no pun intended).
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: One of the pilot shorts, "Pain Pain Go Away" begins with Jimmy and Carl at Dr. Pane's dentistry. Carl is afraid of getting his teeth drilled, but Jimmy helps him overcome this fear with his Pain Trasferrence Helmet, which transfers any pain he experiences to someone else. As Dr. Pane drills Jimmy's teeth, Jimmy transfers his pain to Cindy. Cindy soon finds out and gets ahold of Jimmy's helmet, transferring her pain to Jimmy as payback.
  • Animaniacs (1993): In "Nothing But the Tooth", Rasputin gets a toothache, and to his horror, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot are his dentists. In the Wheel of Morality segment that follows, the episode's moral is "Brush your teeth after every meal. This moral brought to you by the American Dental Association."
  • Arthur: "Arthur's Tooth", adapted from a book of the same name, deals with Arthur having a loose tooth. He visits the dentist, who tells him that everyones' teeth fall out at different ages and there's nothing wrong with not having lost a tooth.
  • The Big City Greens episode "Hurty Tooth" has Cricket taken to the dentist because of a rotten tooth. He is at first freaked out because of horror stories Gramma told him about doctors taking anything they can, but Cricket eventually relents due to how painful the tooth has become, as well as being scared by the sight of Gramma's dentures.
  • The Bob's Burgers episode "The Kids Run Away" has all the Belcher kids go in for a dental checkup. After finding out she has a really bad cavity, Louise is terrified of getting it filled and runs away with her siblings to Aunt Gayle's apartment. By the end of the episode with a lot of support (and a bit of action role-playing) she is convinced to get the cavity filled.
  • The Coconut Fred's Fruit Salad Island episode "Fruit Canal" is about Coconut Fred accompanying Bingo Cherry as he visits the dentist to have a toothache taken care of.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door combines this trope with a mystery episode. A mysterious villain known as Knightbrace begins attacking the children of Sector V one by one, "evilly" whitening their teeth and providing proper dental care. The kids suspect the local dentist, whose office is right next door to the local candy shop where they go to deliberately ruin their teeth. In a twist ending, it turns out the candy shop owner is Knightbrace—he wanted to be a dentist but was rejected from dental school (for trying to put braces on babies), and being forced to open a sweet shop and watch children eat sugary treats all day has driven him over the edge. And in a further subversion, the dentist ends up being the one to save the kids!
  • Dan Vs.: In "Dan Vs. The Dentist", Dan has to see the dentist after breaking a tooth. Dan protests this, believing that all dentists are con men who cause more tooth problems than they solve, for their own job security. And it turns out Dan is completely right. His dentist is, in fact, a tooth-themed supervillain.
  • In the Dennis the Menace episode, "Nothing But the Tooth", Joey has a loose tooth and is afraid of having it fall out. Dennis tells Joey to go to the dentist to have it taken out, but Joey is afraid of dentists. He's even afraid of the tooth fairy when Dennis tells him that he can get money from her for his tooth. Dennis has PeeBee invent a robot to extract Joey's tooth, and when PeeBee tests it on Mr. Wilson by having it take his dentures, this frightens Joey even more. At the end of the episode, Joey overcomes his fear when Dennis accidentally knocks out his tooth at the dentist's office, but when Dennis finds out that he has a dental check-up, he becomes afraid of going to the dentist.
  • One "Justice Friends" segment of Dexter's Laboratory features the Infraggable Krunk getting a corn chip stuck in his tooth and suffering extreme dental pain. Valhallen repeatedly points out that Krunk just needs to see a dentist, but Major Glory, who has a pathological fear of them, insists on increasingly desperate schemes to cure Krunk, including having other Justice Friends attack his mouth and deliberately leaving the giant in the middle of a public square, then announcing to every villain in town that "a single punch to the jaw" would defeat him. After all of these plots fail, Krunk finally agrees to visit the dentist, and the visit is perfectly pleasant—there's even a And Knowing Is Half the Battle moment at the end of the episode where the characters tell the audience that seeing the dentist once a year is important.
  • One episode of Doug has the titular Doug getting his first cavity. He starts panicing and has various frightening Imagine Spots, however the actual dentist is quite nice.
  • The Fanboy and Chum Chum episode "Dental Illness" has Fanboy catching a toothache from the one tooth he never brushes and has to go to the dentist to get it extracted. The dentist he sees is a vampire.
  • Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs has an episode where Trike gets a hornache from eating too much candy and has to visit the "horntist".
  • A Johnny Bravo episode sees the titular hunk being dragged to the local dental college for a toothache (he's apparently been brushing with cane sugar and molasses). To trick him, Mama Bravo tells him that they're actually going to the "Happy Fun Park," and Johnny spends almost all of the episode believing that the dentist is actually an employee who will change his dollars for quarters. When Johnny finally realizes what's going on, the dentist easily solves his problem—there was a pine nut stuck in his gums. Johnny is then given a lollipop, which he tries to bite and ends up breaking his teeth.
  • The Mao Mao: Heroes of Pure Heart episode "Flyaway" has Adorabat being so afraid of going to the dentist that she transcends her mortal form just to get out of going.
  • "The Merry Old Soul" has Oswald the Lucky Rabbit going to the dentist for a difficult tooth extraction, although the plot takes a sharp turn when Oswald hears a radio story reporting that the king is depressed.
  • Molly of Denali: "Tooth Or Consequences", where the kids are scared to go to the dentist because of a sensational video.
  • The Muppet Babies (1984) episode, "Dental Hyjinks" is about Fozzie getting a loose tooth and being afraid to go to the dentist. Nanny ends up taking him to the dentist, leaving the others worried, but Fozzie ends up coming back perfectly fine, and the other babies are so impressed by what Fozzie got from the dentist that they want to go too.
  • In the PB&J Otter episode, "Butter's First Check-up", Butter is afraid of going to the dentist for her very first check-up, so Peanut and Jelly try to show her that dental visits are nothing to be afraid of.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (2016): In the episode "Tooth Consequences", the girls have to get their teeth cleaned at the dentist. Blossom, unfortunately, has pain in her tooth. When Buttercup scares her with stories of tooth drilling, Blossom avoids seeing the dentist. Blossom develops a swelling on her face which eventually ends up with her transforming into a monster. In the end she goes to the dentist, but the same thing happens again when she needs braces.
  • In the Rocko's Modern Life episode, "Rinse and Spit", Filburt uses Rocko as a test patient so that he can pass his final exam at dental school, the teacher being Dr. Paula Hutchison. When Filburt discovers that Rocko has a cavity in one of his teeth, he attempts to take an X-ray, but Rocko's tooth then escapes from Rocko's mouth, uses the rays from the X-ray machine to make him grow to an enormous size and goes on a rampage. In order to pass the final part of the exam, Filburt has to return Rocko's tooth to its normal size. The episode ends with a segment where Gordon, a disembodied talking leg advises the viewers to take proper care of their teeth.
  • The Simpsons: In "Last Exit to Springfield", Mr. Burns tries to remove the nuclear power plant's dental plan. Homer realizes that this means he'll have to pay for Lisa's braces, and begins a strike to get the dental plan back. By the end of the episode, Lisa gets her braces at the dentist's office, which are completely invisible. Additionally, Ralph Wiggum goes to the dentist, who interrogates him into admitting that he doesn't brush three times a day.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "The Whole Tooth", Patrick is afraid of the dentist, not wanting to go despite an awful toothache. SpongeBob convinces him to go, and it turns out that he needs to have his last baby tooth removed. Patrick still tries to keep his baby tooth, but after SpongeBob tells him about the Tooth Ferry (a cruise ship for teeth, taking them to a tropical island), he allows his tooth to be taken out.
  • The Taz-Mania episode "Toothache Taz" had Taz suffering from toothache, and going to the Platypus Brothers instead of a proper dentist with his mom. After several attempts to remove it (and losing a healthy tooth instead of the right one), he runs out of their house, and goes to the doctor with Mom.

 
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