I have a confession. Each Wednesday evening at 10pm, I curl up on my couch and indulge in one of my guilty pleasures: watching TLC’s “Toddlers & Tiaras”. However, I try and justify it by focusing on how this show relates to my future dental career. If you’ve never seen the show, you likely think there is very little in common between dentistry and little girls being dressed in frilly garments covered in crystals and made-up to look like they are in their teens or twenties. But you would be dead wrong.
Just a few weeks ago, I was proud to answer a professor perfectly when asked if anyone knew what a “flipper” was. No, I have not yet seen a patient in need of a temporary fix for a missing tooth while a definitive solution was being planned or fabricated. I have instead seen countless episodes of “Toddlers & Tiaras” in which parents pay for flippers to hide sites of primary tooth exfoliation, so that the apple of their eye can shine a perfect smile while strutting about the pageant stage. To quote the pageant director of Rumble in the Jungle, “If you want to win this pageant, you’d better have a flipper… You’d better have it all together.”
I have even seen parents who whiten their daughters’ teeth (yikes!) so that when she flashes a smile for the judges, those pearly whites will be stunning against the background of a spray tan and heavy make-up. So instead of feeling guilty over my “trash TV” obsession, I look at this show as a way to introduce me to some of the crazy requests I may get one day as a pediatric dentist from the parents of budding pageant princesses!
Watch the clip below to see for yourself. What do you think about kids and flippers and whitening? Leave a comment below!
~Ashley N. Phares, UConn ‘13, District 1 editor-in-chief