When I was in private dental practice, every Halloween we would create temporary vampire teeth for patients who wanted them for costumes. It was about a fifteen minute procedure, and didn’t require any novocain or drilling on the teeth. Then, the day after Halloween, we would remove the fangs, which took another ten minutes. We charged $10 a tooth for the procedure—not nearly enough to be profitable, but we did it because it was fun and we would get publicity for it. We always got an article about us in the newspaper and a couple of times a TV news team would come in and feature us on the evening news.
Here’s how the procedure went:
First, a dental assistant would clean the canine teeth off with Supersmile whitening toothpaste. This gently removed the protein pellicle layer without being abrasive. Then, I would come in and etch each canine tooth and apply a bonding agent. On top of that, I would apply a small amount of red composite tint. The purpose of the tint will be clear later.
Over the red tint, I would apply a tooth-colored composite and create the shape of a fang. If I kept the composite toward the facial surface of the canine, it generally wouldn’t get in the way of the bite. Sometimes I could make these vampire teeth quite long without any problem. Sometimes the patient’s bite was more restrictive, and I was limited in how long I could make them.
Since the vampire teeth were just temporary, they required only a light polish, which I also delegated to an assistant, and the patient was dismissed. The whole process required about ten minutes of my time, and we could block out about an hour or two in which we could fit six to twelve patients for this.
We were careful to do these fangs only for entertainment value. The disclaimer we had them sign included a provision that they needed to have them removed right after Halloween. We ran into one or two people who were associated with strange cults and wanted permanent vampire teeth, but we didn’t want to get involved in doing that.
The day after Halloween, the patient would return, and we would remove the fangs and polish the teeth. Having the red tint underneath the overlying composite made this procedure much quicker. I would drill away the composite with an aggressive, coarse diamond bur until I began to see the red tinge. At this point, we would shift to carbide finishing burs and sandpaper disks that would remove only the composite and wouldn’t remove any tooth structure. This made the removal quick, economical and safe.
This content was written by Dr. David Hall.