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  • Dr. Whitney Mostafiz

Yup, it's Halloween...

So it's true, I love all things teeth. Halloween, teeth, Halloween, hmm... fangs! Wait. Custom removable fangs! So I decided I would try and make some custom fangs at work (oh I love my job). It's not all too different from making a retainer, which orthodontic offices make almost every day. Let me show you how and maybe your favorite orthodontist (or dentist, why not?) can hook you up with some personalized fangs. For next Halloween? For a super cool (freaky?) retainer? Or, hey fangs are cool any time of year, I suppose.

Brace yourself. This is going to get messy (just a little).

Sorry, disclaimer: you do have to get an impression of your teeth. So you start by sitting in the dental chair, and say a short prayer that you're not going to gag on your impression. Kidding... maybe? Then you get that gooey impression for about a minute even though you're convinced it was almost an hour. All done, now you get to clean yourself up. That wasn't all too bad, was it?

Soon afterwards, liquid stone is poured into the impression to create a model of your teeth, which after an actual hour will solidify and is rock-hard (kind of like sidewalk concrete). This model is a true-to-life size stone form of your teeth, pretty neat right? This is what the fangs are "built" on.

Time to get me some fangs. You can use dental composite (i.e. the same stuff dental fillings are made of) and layer-by-layer you grow the fangs on your canine teeth. You can only add small amounts at a time because a bright light is used to set the dental composite material. Without the light, it's a moldable jelly material. And that light can only go so far. Anyway, a little bit of artistic skill is necessary so that you make fangs into the shape of actual fangs! You also only want to build them on the outside aspect of the tooth so you can still bite down with moderate comfort. Anyway, leave these details to your orthodontist :)

Once you've built up your fangs on the model, you need to essentially make a retainer (aka the clear plastic one) that mimics this new form. I assume you don't actually want to glue these to your real teeth... A special machine does this, which basically melts a thin sheet of plastic and then uses a vacuum to suck it down tightly around your model. Think: negative pressure, like a vacuum, or a tornado. I digress...

So once you have the clear "retainer" version of your teeth, you are almost all done. You have to separate the vacuum-formed plastic from your model. Don't cry, but most likely your model will be destroyed in the process. Once you have the stone removed, you need to trim the plastic to fit around the margins of your teeth. Leave this to your dental friends, it's a bit of a pain. After this, you can actually fit the retainer into your mouth, woohoo!

One more thing though. Now you just have to paint a thin layer of the tooth composite material onto the area that you built up so that it is tooth colored and doesn't look like clear plastic hanging off of your canine teeth. Now you're all set, enjoy your new pearly white custom-fitting fangs!

And in case you forgot what all the steps looked like, here's a summary:

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