How did Tom Hanks fix his tooth in the movie Cast Away?

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Movie Screenshot Copyright @20th Century Fox


Have you ever wondered what you would do when you have a toothache in uninhabited island?


In the movie “Cast Away,” Chuck (Tom Hanks) had that experience.

When his FedEx cargo plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean and he washed up on an uninhabited island. While he was trying to survive in the island, Chuck started having toothache.

After enduring a constant toothache, he had to extract his own tooth using a rock and an ice skate from one of the packages.


Movie Screenshot Copyright @20th Century Fox


Is it that simple? Can we all just draw a dentist on the wall and use ice skate to pull teeth?


So we asked Dr. Huh at Rapha Dental if it is possible. Dr. Huh said, “It is very unlikely that Chuck was able to extract the whole tooth like the dentist do in the dental office. He probably broke the crown portion off from the tooth using ice skate and left the root inside the gum.”


If that’s what really happened, was that really enough to relieve the toothache for Chuck? Does the movie make sense or is it nonsense? Dr. Huh said, “Toothache starts when the pulp tissue (nerve) inside the tooth gets infected from the cavity. The pulp dies and infection increases the pressure inside the tooth, creating pain. By breaking the crown portion off and exposing the pulp tissue to the outside, Chuck must have relieved the pressure built up inside the tooth. By doing so, he could have relieved the toothache. Retained root tips can be asymptomatic for a while until it creates another problem in the future.”


(Chuck could have broke the crown off, relieving pressure built up inside the tooth)



Well … it worked for Chuck, can we all do it to save the money?


Dr. Huh said, “There is actually a professional terminology for those kind of procedure. It is called ‘Coronectomy.’ The procedure is mostly used for the wisdom tooth removal. Coronectomy is useful when the roots of wisdom tooth is too close to the nerve and tooth needs to be removed. In such cases, dentist remove the crown portion only and leave the roots alone.


Dr. Huh continued, “Of course, I do not recommend patients to self-perform Coronectomy on themselves. Patients can hurt themselves, damage other parts of body and risks infection that can be life threatening. To properly extract the tooth, it is important to remove the entire roots if possible in a controlled environment such as dentist office.”



Do you need tooth extraction in South Jersey?


Do you happen to live in South Jersey and need tooth extraction? Contact Dr. Huh at Rapha Dental.

You can call us at 856-829-8668 or Book an Appointment Online yourself.