In Night, what is the dentist doing? How does Elie escape him?

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kateanswers eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter Four of Elie Wiesel's memoir, Night, Elie and his father have been transferred to the Buna work camp. The prisoners are summoned for a medical examination, where a doctor asks if they are in good health and a dentist asks if they have any gold crowns in their teeth. During the Holocaust, many prisoners had the gold fillings or crowns in their teeth forcibly removed. Elie tells the dentist that he does have a gold crown, but he is sick. The dentist tells Elie that he can go for today, but makes him promise that he must come back in one week to have the crown removed. When Elie returns as instructed, the dentist is so impressed that he lets Elie go again. Soon the dentist is caught stealing some of these gold crowns and is sent to be hanged, so Elie never actually has to have his crown removed.