Media Monday

I’m not a dentist, but I play one on TV

Dentists have long been demonized in Hollywood. With our wickedly sharp instruments and penchant for causing bleeding (perio probing is important, okay??), it’s not hard to understand why. We’re not always portrayed as malicious sadists, however. I still get a laugh from movie dentists who are hopelessly friendly and naïve. Below are some of the most famous (and most entertaining) TV and movie dentists currently shaping patient opinions.

Contour Extended: Hidden Figures in dentistry

Dear Hidden Figures,

Perhaps you have seen the new motion picture that describes the life of Katherine Johnson, an African-American math prodigy who grew up in White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia. She grew up counting numbers and manually computing equations. In 1953 she began working for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), later known at NASA. She joined hundreds of other women as a human computer. Pre-dating Apple or Microsoft, these women helped to win the race to space. As a math computer, she completed calculations for Alan Shepard, John Glenn, the Apollo moon landing mission, and the start of the space shuttle program.

What your patients hear when you’re talking

I am well known among classmates for having a strong comical and creative flair. This prompted Buffalo’s Editor-in-Chief to fervently recruit me to draw comics for our local publication. Several spirited discussions about my drawing abilities ensued, and now here I am, a dental comic. Enjoy…

The Dental Brigades and the heart of the profession

As an undergraduate at Loyola University Chicago, I knew I wanted to enrich my education with adventure and community service. I joined clubs, networked with numerous people, and made unforgettable memories. Global Brigades is the organization that had the biggest impact on my journey. After volunteering for two international trips, I knew I had found my future profession.

Texting patients: does it violate HIPAA?

In the midst of busy day where there’s no time to chat, sending a text message to communicate is a quick, convenient option we often use to keep our messages brief and to the point. But, how many people actually prefer texting over talking on the phone? According to a 2011 report by the Pew Research Center, approximately 83% of Americans own cell phones and of these, 73% use the text messaging function. Additionally, a 2016 survey conducted by OpenMarket found that 75% of millennials “chose texting over talking,” often citing the convenience of communicating on their own schedule. As students, we often text our family, friends and classmates to coordinate our daily lives, but many of us may also text our patients to confirm appointments and address questions. While texting might seem to be a convenient way to contact patients, it’s important to remember that this action raises many important implications for patient privacy.

Is the media making dentists look bad?

newspapers-tabletThis article originally appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of Mouth. At the time, Stephanie Mazariegos, LECOM ’15, was the trustee from District 5. To read more from Mouth, click here.

For every headline that indicates dentists rank high among “most trusted professions,” there’s another condemning a dentist for fraud or patient mistreatment. As you enter a profession that relies on public trust, consider that the actions you take are a reflection on both you and the profession itself.

Is the media making dentists look bad?

Ethical terms such as nonmaleficence, autonomy and beneficence stand at the forefront of quality patient care…