Did you hear the one about the woman dentist in Poland who got revenge on her ex-boyfriend by extracting all his teeth while he was under sedation? If you didn’t, you’re not missing anything—nor is the ex-boyfriend as it turns out. The story, which made the news recently on both sides of the Atlantic, was a toothless tale. Just as we readers were sinking our teeth into this story, we were flossed.
The last weekend of April a story was making news websites around the world about a dentist in Poland, who was dumped by her boyfriend for reasons not specified. Perhaps she failed her six-month check-up or didn’t have insurance coverage. Who knows, but the story was run by Fox News, the LA Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Yahoo! News, the New York Post and, yes, The New York Times.
According to the story, the ex developed a toothache and went to the woman’s clinic to get relief. The man may not be missing any teeth, but he has to be missing something to take his toothache to the girlfriend he has just dumped and allow her to put him under sedation.
News accounts quote the woman dentist as saying that she tried to be professional and detach herself from her emotions, but when she saw him lying there in the dentist chair an expletive (which we’ll leave as an unfilled cavity in this commentary) crossed her mind, and she set to work on the dirty deed.
The man is quoted as saying that “I knew something was wrong because when I woke up I couldn’t feel any teeth.” No waiting on a six-month check-up for this guy. He knew right away. He said that when he got home and looked in the mirror he couldn’t believe what he saw (words to that effect anyway). He didn’t run his tongue over his eyeteeth while in the dentist chair and see that he had been defanged?
Get this. Some news outlets reported that his new girlfriend left him because she “can’t be with a man without teeth.” Gum on that one for a minute.
As the story gained momentum, some reporters brushed up on the facts and began to find cavities. MSNBC contributor Erin Tennant did a root canal on it and traced it back to a British reporter, who claims that he does not know where the story originated despite the fact the first story bears his byline. Tennant also learned there is no female dentist with the name given in the story, no such incident was being investigated, and news outlets in Poland were not reporting the story.
It was a story with no bite, overbite, or even teeth. It was a hoax.
No scorned woman had pulled her ex-lover’s teeth. The media and thousands of readers and viewers were the only ones who had anything pulled—their leg.