From heart-racing action sequences to comedic relief, dentists have made their mark in the world of movies and television. These portrayals often range from the heroic to the hilariously inept, showcasing the diverse ways in which dental professionals are depicted on screen. In this exploration, we delve into the best and worst dental characters in cinematic and television history, where dental clinics involve drama, anxiety, action and resolution.

The Best:

1. Dr. King Schultz – “Django Unchained” (2012):
Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece “Django Unchained” introduced us to the charismatic and skilled bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz, portrayed by Christoph Waltz. While not a traditional dentist, Schultz’s expertise with a dental instrument adds an unexpected layer to his character. His eloquence, wit, and sharpshooting skills make him one of the most memorable dental characters in film history.

2. Dr. Julia Harris – “Horrible Bosses” (2011):
Jennifer Aniston’s portrayal of the sexually aggressive and morally bankrupt Dr. Julia Harris adds a comedic twist to the world of dentistry. Despite her unethical behavior, Dr. Harris’s character brings laughter and absurdity to the screen, making her a standout dental character in the realm of comedy.

3. Dr. Frank Sangster – “Novocaine” (2001):
Steve Martin’s performance as Dr. Frank Sangster, a mild-mannered dentist whose life takes a dark turn, is both captivating and darkly comedic. As Sangster’s world unravels due to a series of unfortunate events, the film navigates through themes of deception, betrayal, and unexpected twists, making it a standout in the genre.

4. Dr. Christian Szell – “Marathon Man” (1976):
Laurence Olivier’s chilling portrayal of Dr. Christian Szell, a sadistic former Nazi dentist, is unforgettable. Szell’s use of dental instruments as tools of torture creates a sense of palpable tension throughout the film, making him one of the most menacing dental characters to ever grace the screen.

The Worst:

1. Dr. Sheldon Kornpett – “The In-Laws” (1979):
Alan Arkin’s portrayal of Dr. Sheldon Kornpett, a hapless dentist thrust into a world of international espionage, is characterized by his bumbling ineptitude. While Kornpett’s comedic misadventures provide laughs, his portrayal reinforces stereotypes of dentists as socially awkward and incompetent.

2. Dr. Giggles – “Dr. Giggles” (1992):
In this horror-comedy film, Larry Drake’s portrayal of the deranged Dr. Giggles, a psychotic dentist with a penchant for murder, is as absurd as it is terrifying. While the character’s over-the-top antics may elicit some laughs, his portrayal perpetuates negative stereotypes of dentists as unhinged and dangerous.

3. Dr. Orin Scrivello – “Little Shop of Horrors” (1986):
Steve Martin’s portrayal of Dr. Orin Scrivello, a sadistic and abusive dentist, is both comedic and unsettling. While the character’s exaggerated mannerisms provide comedic relief, his treatment of patients perpetuates stereotypes of dentists as cruel and uncaring.

4. Dr. Farley Stillwell – “Spider-Man” (2002):
In this adaptation of the popular comic book series, actor Daniel Gillies portrays Dr. Farley Stillwell, a scientist who transforms himself into a humanoid lizard. While the character’s transformation adds a fantastical element to the story, his portrayal as a mad scientist dentist reinforces negative stereotypes of dentists as unstable and dangerous.

In conclusion, dentists in movies and TV have been depicted in a variety of ways, ranging from the heroic to the hilariously inept. While some characters inspire admiration and respect, others perpetuate negative stereotypes and reinforce fears associated with dental visits. However, regardless of how they are portrayed, dental clinics involve drama, anxiety, action, and resolution, making these characters an integral part of cinematic and television history. Whether they leave audiences laughing, cringing, or on the edge of their seats, dental characters continue to captivate and entertain viewers around the world.