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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"

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, but 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, but it will still appear. Sometimes overlaps with Sick Episode or The Tooth Hurts. Can also overlap with DIY Dentistry if the patient attempted to pull the tooth out before going to the dentist.

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Other Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Episode 35 of Doki Doki! PreCure, 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. This episode was omitted from the English dub, Glitter Force Doki Doki, likely to discourage young viewers from developing a fear of the dentist.
  • 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 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 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.
  • 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.
  • Yo-Kai Watch:

    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.

    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.

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

    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.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode "Eye, Tooth" has Carlton and Will accidentally breaking William Shatner's tooth due to the former's trekkie obsession, to which Shatner refuses to appear on Hilary's show. When Will and Carlton visit Shatner at the dentist office to apologize, they end up causing havoc when they accidentally disconnect the nitrous oxide tubing from the unit, filling the air in the exam room with nitrous and making Will, Carlton and Shatner completely loopy.
  • The B-Plot of the Full House episode "It's Not My Job" sees Stephanie having her first cavity following a checkup at the dentist. She doesn't think it'll matter, since it's just a baby tooth that will eventually fall out, but when she goes in to get it filled a week later, Joey helps her overcome her fear.
  • 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.
  • One episode of Hannah Montana has Miley breaking her tooth, and she has to prove she can visit the dentist without having her father hold her hand. It proves to be a mistake, especially since her regular dentist is on vacation.
  • In the iCarly episode "iThink They Kissed", Sam tells Carly she hasn't seen a dentist in over 12 years after one of her teeth falls out during a sketch, 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 the missing tooth and filling three cavities. The episode's second half kicks off when Sam, still heavily sedated, tells Carly that she kissed Freddie once. The episode provides the main page image.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Monk: In "Mr. Monk Goes to the Dentist," Monk visits Randy's dentist in order to investigate him after the Lt. insists he saw the man and his hygienist commit murder while he was partially sedated during his own appointment.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus had "Lemming of the BDA," a dentist/secret agent cracking down on the Big Cheese, a "naughty dentist" that made that one fatal mistake. It has Arthur Lemming at the end treating a patient and signing off with "Bye for now. Keep your teeth clean."
  • 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 Northern Exposure episode "Jaws of Life", a traveling dentist makes his routine visit to Cicely, and the townsfolk go out of their way to avoid him as much as possible.
  • 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.
  • The July 8, 1974 telecast of Tattletales posited this question to the wives: "Which of you is braver at facing the dentist?" Dick Gautier unequivocally said his wife Barbara Stuart was braver. "I have to get a shot just to have him look at me!" Dick would tell. Barbara concurred she was braver.
  • 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.


    Puppet Shows 
  • Episode 5213 of Sesame Street reveals that Julia is afraid of dentists. Elmo, Alan, and Charlie act out a game of dentist to help Julia overcome her fear. Later they go to the real dentist, since Charlie has a checkup there.

    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 
  • WarioWare: Touched!: Wario's story has him 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 Animation 
  • Etra-chan saw it!: Yuzuriha gets a toothache and has to go to the dentist. When she's about to get treated by Hiiragi, his wife Akane barges in and accuses him of having an affair with the receptionist Azami. After Yuzuriha exposes Hiiragi's affair with the security cameras, the anesthesia wears off, and she goes to a different dentist office and gets treated by Katsura.
  • Happy Tree Friends: In "Nuttin' but the Tooth", Nutty visits the dentist, Toothy, to get rid of his rotten tooth. Toothy tries various, painful ways to remove said tooth. He ultimately uses the old-fashioned doorknob method, resulting in Nutty's entire lower jaw getting ripped off, including his rotten tooth.

    Web Videos 


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Dentist Episode


Dentist of Horrors?

An episode preview of Sailor Moon SuperS showing that the next episode will be about the dentist.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheDentistEpisode

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