Oscar nominees that cause pain in the dentist chair

March 5, 2003
Famed dentist screens the Oscars for painless dentistry

Dr. Kourosh Maddahi may not be able to predict who will win the Oscars, but he can predict which of the nominated films will relieve or intensify dental pain.

The Beverly Hills dentist has a knack for choosing the right pictures for people undergoing dental procedures. So much so that patients often wonder if Dr. Maddahi, who graduated from the University of Southern California dental school, attended USC film school as well.

"As unusual as it may sound, the Number One film to alleviate pain and put patients at ease among this year's Oscar nominations is `Gangs of New York,'" said Maddahi. "Action films have a more relaxing effect on patients. That's why Martin Scorsese gets this dentist's vote. The picture that raises the most anxiety in the dental chair is `The Pianist.'"

Maddahi said "Lord of the Rings" came in a close second. It may have beaten "Gangs of New York," but it's a little bit too long for a dental procedure. Patients want to leave after they've had their filling and they become anxious if the movie drags on.

"Chicago" and "The Hours" just don't work at Maddahi's plush Beverly Hills office.

Maddahi has screened more than 100 films for patients to watch as they have their teeth cleaned, whitened and drilled in a setting that is more reminiscent of a spa than a traditional dentist's office.

A perfectionist who views dentistry as a work of art, Maddahi has developed a list of film favorites that actually relieve anxiety, vanquish fear and diminish pain. He uses movies rather than pain killers with many of his patients.

"It's incredible for patients," Maddahi said. "Watching a movie takes their minds off the drill. They lose sight of the procedure and relax in the chair. I have been prescribing movies for my patients over the past seven years and have come to the realization that some movies actually increase pain and others diminish pain."

He'll recommend "The Matrix" over "The Horse Whisperer" anytime.

"With apologies to Robert Redford and Nicole Kidman, who each have beautiful smiles, their films just don't make it in a dental screening chair," said Maddahi. "And some movies, like `The Horse Whisperer' and the musicals `Moulin Rouge' and `Chicago,' actually made the pain increase."

Through his study of pain management, Maddahi has concluded that many action and comedy movies are great pain relievers, whereas drama and boring movies make for a more painful experience.

"It has become an art with me," Maddahi said. "I can feel their pain when they watch the wrong type of movie and see their joy when they watch the right one."

Maddahi's practice features state-of-the-art cosmetic dental care, including in-office and at-home teeth whitening, tooth-colored fillings, porcelain veneers and bonding, precision-crafted crowns and bridges.

A complete list of "Maddahi at the Movies" is available at Kourosh Maddahi, DDS, 436 N. Roxbury Dr., Suite 202, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, or at www.drmaddahi.com. For the next showing, call 310/888-7797.