Elie Wiesel's Night tells the story of a young teen subjected to the horrors of concentration camp life in the last year of World War II. In the book's fourth section Wiesel briefly describes a medical inspection that the new prisoners take part in. The inspection itself is uneventful, but it does set the stage for several important events a little later in the book.
As part of the inspection, the dentist takes note of Elie's gold crown. Later, Elie is summoned to the dentist to have the crown removed. At first he begs off with the excuse of not feeling well. The dentist shows a little kindness when he lets Elie wait a while. In the meantime, the dentist is hanged for trafficking gold crowns for his own benefit. Elie shows how he has changed for the worse by telling the reader that he was “pleased” with this development, because it allowed him to keep his gold crown, at least for the time being.
Shortly afterwards, another prisoner, Franek, wants Elie's crown. Elie refuses to give it up, so Franek begins to threaten Elie and his father. Eventually Elie has to give it to him to save his father.
By including the short medical inspection scene, Wiesel is able to use the gold tooth to develop his theme of man's inhumanity to man.