Did Joe Biden Have A Toothache During The Clarence Thomas Hearings? 'Confirmation' Includes Dental Dramatics

On Saturday, April 16, HBO will premiere Confirmation, its film about the 1991 hearings leading up to the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, during which Thomas' former employee Anita Hill testified on allegations that Thomas sexually harassed her. (Thomas vehemently denied Hill's claims and his confirmation moved forward.) While the film is clearly rooted in some pretty heavy and controversial subject matter, the film also touches on a few of the less important details surrounding the hearings as well, namely that Joe Biden had some serious dental problems during the Clarence Thomas hearings. Biden and his tooth woes are somewhat humorously touched upon throughout the film, and yeah, the dental dramatics really happened.

As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, then-Senator Biden was ultimately presiding over the whole hearing. Unfortunately for Biden, he did so while suffering from severe toothaches. According to the LA Times, during the 1991 hearings, Biden had to visit his dentist once in the middle of the night for a root canal and then again, the next morning, for a second root canal. The same article reports that he actually used a cold soda can pressed against his face to ease the pain whenever he was not in front of the cameras — a detail that also appears in Confirmation.

In Confirmation, actor Greg Kinnear plays Biden and in an interview with Jimmy Fallon, Kinnear said he got really into his role and personally connected to our current Vice President's 1991 dental issues. He said that during a break in filming, he broke his tooth on some popcorn while catching a movie. His painful tooth happened to be the same molar that plagued Biden during the real hearing.

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on YouTube

Here's hoping that Biden's days of midnight root canals are behind him, and by the look of his million-dollar smile today, I don't think he has to worry.