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Dean George is the Marketing Specialist and Content Creator for Dental Insurance
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A vibrant brush, an airport scare and the irresistible assistant

Jan 28, 2013

 Electric toothbrush shuts down part of airport
Photo source:

It’s been awhile since we’ve written a new installment of Dental Drama and Oral Oddities. Will 2013 be as wacky a year for dental news as 2012? Time will tell, but so far the odds of oral oddities are pretty good when a…well, I can’t say without giving it away, but this oral accessory created a bomb scare at one of the world’s largest airports earlier this month.

Tick, tick, tick…That sound coming from a checked bag on an AirTran flight at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport shut down a portion of the world’s busiest airport January 4.  

At 7:30 a.m. that Friday police quickly cordoned off a section of the north terminal and summoned the bomb squad.

Taking no chances, officials also closed the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) and diverted travelers to the south terminal of the airport. The tension was palatable as passengers and airline employees nervously waited for the arrival of the bomb technicians.

When the bomb techs arrived airport personnel immediately directed them to the suspicious ticking bag. The bomb squad took their usual precautions and once ready, carefully opened the suspicious bag, looked inside and found…a vibrating electric toothbrush.

Hey – there’s nothing funny about vibrating electric toothbrushes. Last year in Dental Wire, we covered a story where the Food and Drug Administration reported that the battery-powered Arm & Hammer’s Spinbrush® was cited for a removable brush head that could unexpectedly pop off during use. 

Reportedly several users had sustained injuries, creating a stampede among personal boo-boo lawyers with injuries that included chipped and broken teeth, a cut mouth, an eye injury and even a choking hazard.

Fortunately in the Atlanta toothbrush fiasco, no injuries were sustained. After the bomb squad and security personnel confirmed there were no terrorists hiding in the toothbrush mechanism, they expertly switched the vibrating toothbrush to the off position. 

Forty minutes later the terminal reopened, rail service resumed and Transportation Safety Administration employees eagerly returned to viewing naked scans of passengers.

Agent Straight-Talk tip: Always remove batteries from electronic appliances before packing them inside your luggage. That is, unless you like embarrassing situations that might get you on the national news.

Simply Irresistible American jurisprudence never ceases to amaze and last December the legal beagles of the Iowa Supreme Court bemused us with another bewildering brief.

In case you missed it, the Iowa jurists ruled in favor of dentist James Knight’s decision to fire his long-time assistant, Melissa Nelson, for being too “irresistible” and a “threat” to his marriage.  She returned the favor by suing him for gender discrimination.

Nelson had worked as a dental assistant for 10 years with Knight and was devastated when the man she thought of as a “father figure” terminated the 32-year old married mother of two.  The two never engaged in anything illicit, but in the final 18 months of her employment Dr. Knight began commenting that Nelson’s clothing had become  “distracting.” 

Now, I don’t know about you, but I hate it when my dentist is distracted; especially when they have a sharp instrument roughly the length of a Smart Car in my oral orifice.

Knight admitted in court documents that Nelson was the best dental assistant he’d ever had and for her part Nelson told the court she was generally treated with respect at work.

Anyway, six months before she was fired Knight began exchanging texts with Nelson about work and innocent personal subjects like their children’s activities.

But according to court documents there was one text from Knight to Nelson that Mrs. Knight, who worked in the same office, found more than “distracting.”   Let’s just say Jeanne Knight found her husband’s texted question to Nelson, uh, indelicate, and demanded that Nelson be fired – pronto, if my Espanol is correct.

ABC News reported that when Nelson’s husband tried to dissuade Knight from firing his wife, the dentist told him he feared he would have an affair with Nelson’s wife if he didn’t fire her.

Hmm…it seems that much of the legal wrangling could have been avoided at this point if Mr. Nelson had simply, as an incensed husband, performed a quick layman dental procedure on Dr. Knight’s grill – dental instruments not required. 

But then I suppose Melissa Nelson would not have received the generous one-month severance pay she got from her former employer after a decade of service.

The all-male Iowa Supreme Court ruled that Nelson's termination did not constitute unlawful discrimination, even though she never engaged in inappropriate conduct in the workplace.  Knight’s attorney said in a public statement that Nelson was not fired because of her gender, but “to preserve the best interest of his client’s marriage.”

Perhaps the crisis might have been averted if the dentist had Nelson wear a smock that resembled a burka? Or if Mrs. Knight had her husband wear blinders?   Trying to keep up with legal reasoning these days is like guzzling a Big Gulp® 15 minutes after getting a shot of Novacain.

Agent Straight-Talk tip: What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens around a dental office should stay professional, pleasant and positive.  In fact, a good rule for all offices, don’t you think?

Thanks for reading Agent Straight-Talk and remember: Every smile makes you a day younger. Email me at:

Copyright 2013, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC©

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