Professional Courtesy: Your Patients Are Watching—Are You? by Dr. Thomas Giacobbi

Dentaltown Magazine

by Thomas Giacobbi, DDS, FAGD, editorial director, Dentaltown magazine

It’s the dead of winter in most parts of the country, and eyes often turn to indoor entertainment to pass the time and stay warm. This month I provide you with a selection of programs from Netflix, the king of streaming services. Each of these items will tweak a different emotion; I’ll leave it to you to decide which ones are activated. (By the way, if you had invested $1,000 in Netflix in 2007, it would be worth more than $90,000 today.)

Root Cause

If your Netflix profile has already identified you as a dentist, you might soon see this documentary show up in your recommended feed: Root Cause. This documentary attempted to blame multiple health problems suffered by the narrator on root canals performed 10 years earlier: Yes, 10 years before the onset of panic attacks and chronic fatigue in one person. Other patients profiled had kidney problems, breast cancer and chronic back pain allegedly caused by teeth treated with root canal procedures. Don’t get your meridians in a knot, but the unsubstantiated statistics that spew out in this film are enough to make you throw a shoe at the TV. The cruel twist in this disaster film is the fact that the main message will be lost; the filmmakers are making the point that the teeth matter and the mouth has a profound impact on the health of our patients. This is true, but blaming every disease a patient has on a previous root canal is absurd, in my humble opinion.

Ozark and Arrested Development

I put these two programs together because they both happen to include Jason Bateman, but that’s where the similarities end. Ozark is a dark TV crime show that follows a family down the black hole of money laundering. Arrested Development is a classic TV sitcom that includes a dysfunctional family and their funny business. Dentists will enjoy Ozark because it makes practicing dentistry look like an easy way to make a living. Arrested Development will appeal to anyone’s desire to laugh at the absurd.

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

This program, one part reality TV and one part documentary, follows the progress of messy people under the guidance of best-selling author Marie Kondo. She gives instructions in Japanese with a big smile on her face; her sister provides translation and assistance with the process. It’s a straightforward approach that follows a specific pattern: clothing, books, paper, everything else and sentimental items are addressed last. Items must “spark joy” if they have any hope of surviving the cuts. I think this program will appeal to many dental professionals that are often self-proclaimed neat freaks, anal retentive and hoarders.

The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned from a Mythical Man

The title sums up this offering very nicely. Bill Murray is famous for showing up in the most unusual places and having a good time with the general public. He has never played the part of a Hollywood hotshot; he seems to prefer a life less flashy and he derives a good bit of positive energy through everyday interactions. Two of my favorites had him doing karaoke and playing kickball in a park. One author interviewed in the documentary makes a good case for a common thread that can be found in many of Bill Murray’s greatest movies: enlightenment, how to live and “it just doesn’t matter.” (Remember Meatballs?) The high-stress life of a dentist can always benefit from a healthy dose of Bill Murray.

Do you have something to suggest? Share it in the comments section on the digital version of this article, which you can find at


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