The painful history of dentists in the movies.

A look at the coming crisis.
Sept. 30 2009 9:38 AM

Nerds, Nebbishes, and Nazis

The painful history of dentists in the movies.

Click here for a video slide show on movie dentists.

Dentists are a disappearing breed in America, and looking at the way they are portrayed in the movies, it's easy to see why. Since their first appearances in the silent era, they have typically been characterized as schlubs, second-raters, or sadists. (Be honest: How long did it take you to show up for your next cleaning after you saw Marathon Man?)

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June Thomas is a Slate culture critic and editor of Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section.