Free Character Writing Prompts #79: Dentists

If you had to choose one person to be on the good side of, you might choose the trained professional who will be tinkering around inside of your mouth. Even though I've only had a few dentists in my time, their personalities have been all over the board. There was the European woman with the iron fist who wouldn't let any plague escape her grasp, blood or no blood. I've seen the friendly old man who follows up every appointment with a sugar-free treat. I've even seen the one who plugs himself and his business in silly TV commercials. While we only get to see dentists once or twice a year, it's never a bad idea to see them often in your stories. 

Free Character Writing Prompts #79: Dentists

1. He knew early on that to survive in a town of many dentists, he needed to create a brand for himself. For the front of his store and the top of his car, he ordered a giant plastic dancing tooth wearing a lab coat with his name on the back. He started booking radio and television ads, focusing on him and the dancing tooth. He even got on several local talk shows to discuss dental health and his business. As a result, everybody knew him as "the dancing tooth guy" and began to frequent his business. His wife didn't love all the attention, but they were both glad to have a successful business in a tough market. What are some of the other ways in which he had advertised his dancing tooth brand?

2. Even though his office had been updated to include the latest in dental technology, those who entered his examination room still referred to it as "the dungeon." After all, about 30 years ago when he decorated the place he'd given it a sort of medieval motif because he loved that kind of stuff. Unfortunately, since it hadn't been updated since he'd gone into business, it now resembled more of a torture chamber than the typical bright and cheery, kid-friendly offices that most dentists use. The fact that he'd grown old and a bit scary looking, only added to the medieval mystique. Will this dentist ever realize that his decor might be scaring off potential customers?

3. In Hungary, children knew that a trip to the dentist wasn't about sugar-free treats and bubble gum fluoride, she thought to herself. The children in the United States whined and cried about her making their mouths bleed with her aggressive gum line picking. She responded to them by saying they should floss more, admitting no fault of her own. She was a fantastic dentist as far as keeping her patients' mouths clean, but she was never much of a people person. When she began to lose customers, she wondered what her next step should be to bring in business. What will she decide to do to keep her practice afloat?

4. She made men want to come to the dentist. She was extremely attractive and she prominently displayed some old pictures of herself including some from her high school cheerleading days. She was more or less oblivious to these men scheduling more than four dental appointments each year, as she had the photos displayed so her patients would get to know her. In reality, they wanted to get to know her much better and before she knew it, she was getting requests for her personal phone number. She didn't really feel comfortable dating her patients so she almost always declined. She just wanted to clean teeth and she wasn't interested in breaking hearts. Why did she get into dentistry and did she ever think her appearance would be both a benefit and a detriment to her practice?

5. One of the things he loved the most about being a dentist was having a captive audience. After he'd failed in his efforts of being a stand-up comedian while going to dental school, he realized that he could make whatever jokes he wanted while people had cotton balls shoved in their mouths. As a result, he began trying out new material on his patients, though he found that if he did get a laugh, it really disrupted his work. He wondered if he would have to make a choice between trying to be a funny guy and being a dentist. As he began to tone down his exam room comedy, he started to become a better listener. As his listening skills improved, so did his stand-up comedy open mics he would do on the weekends. It turned out the dentistry was exactly what he needed for his comedy. What other positive traits has he gained from his dental work?

6. He seemed like a bit of a sleazebag, but he had the best prices on dental work in town, which got him a good deal of customers. He was the kind of dentist who gives dentists a bad name. When he put people under for dental surgery, he would take a couple of bucks from their wallets and record them saying funny things when coming out of a drug-induced haze. He loved blurring out their faces and putting the videos up on YouTube, giving him some additional advertising revenue. He had been sued on more than one occasion, but he'd gotten out of most of them due to a brother who works at the state attorney general's office. In his personal life, he was just as much of a jerk, using his high salary from his dental practice to buy flashy cars and to take superficial women out to a constant party at his favorite club. Will this immoral dentist continue to succeed or will one transgression too many spell the end for his practice?

7. One of the defining events of her life was when she was hit by a car while riding her bike during her middle school years. She survived the ordeal but despite wearing a helmet, her jaw was shattered and her teeth were completely destroyed. If it weren't for dental reconstructive surgery, she would have looked like an absolute freak. The way her teeth were taken care of amazed her and she vowed to go into dental work to help kids and adults to heal, like her dental surgeon had done for her. She worked hard in school, especially because science wasn't a subject that came naturally to her. When she failed an important exam along the way, her parents advised her to give up. She thought back to her laying there on the pavement, mortified at the state she was in and began working even harder. She passed the exam and all future exams to become the dentist she knew she could be. What are some other ways in which she remembers the dentist who saved her mouth?

8. Her family hadn't exactly been the pinnacle of dental health when she was growing up. There was nothing resembling floss anywhere to be seen in the house. There was even sort of a contest between the kids to see who could get the most cavities. That is why she was surprised by her own decision to go to dental school about halfway through college. Part of her choice was made after seeing how meticulously her roommate dealt with her hygiene. This dentist-to-be never realized that teeth could be so well cared for. She also knew she wanted to help people health-wise, but she wasn't as interested in the many years of medical school that would be required. When she told her family they nearly popped a filling. Will she be able to reform her family's decades of poor dental health?

9. He tried to come off like the "cool dentist," but he more closely resembled the crazy, nitrous fanatic in Little Shop of Horrors. He loved singing to his patients and thought that such a joyful attitude would set his patients at ease. In reality, they were never sure what exactly he would do next, which completely frightened them. His wife made every effort to tell him that he was making people uncomfortable but he refused to change his ways, causing him to lose most of his patients. He needed an image adjustment or he'd literally never work in this town again. He began researching the most successful dentists in history and tried to mimic all of their best business practices. He had a grand reopening of his business and hoped that giving up being the "cool dentist" would get him back on track. Will he be successful at his second effort despite not being "cool?"

10. She knew that her time was almost up, though she didn't want to admit it to herself. She had been one of the few female dentists in the state when she began and now nearly 45 years later, she was happy to see the balance had shifted. In her younger days, she would go around to the schools preaching the benefits of good dental hygiene. She later had several adults come up to her, telling her how her message had really stuck with them. Dentistry was what she was meant to do in this world and if she retired, she figured it was like signing her own death warrant. She knew it was getting tougher and tougher to do her job though and she decided to hang up her metal pick. What was it about dentistry that made her get into the profession in the first place? 

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Written by Bryan Cohen

Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on and Facebook.
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