Jacked Up Teeth: Five Dental Disasters

Let the dental disasters below be a warning. If you don’t take care of your smile, you could find yourself on a toothless road to ruin. We presented two dentists with five memorable mouths and asked them to assess the damage – both physical and financial – of neglect and bad genetics.

number 1 smiling man with bad teeth "In dental terms, this person is partially edentulous with a loss of vertical dimension and malocclusion," says Dr. Catrise Austin, a cosmetic dentist in Manhattan with an entertainment-focused practice. "In laymen's terms, he's missing teeth and has a bite where his top teeth and bottom teeth simply do not meet, making chewing a nightmare."

Was this mostly genetics or poor oral hygiene? "The most common causes of tooth loss are poor oral hygiene and poor diet. Poor oral habits lead to cavities, gum disease, and finally, tooth loss," says Dr. Austin. Our conclusion: mostly hygiene.

Dr. Austin estimates that fixing this mess would cost about $30,000 for an exam and dental implants, or else $3,000 for a Snap-On Smile. However, we think there are some things even a snap-on can't cover up.

number 2 woman at carnival with bad teeth The money this young lady spent altering her nose might have been better spent correcting her teeth. Then again, we didn't see the nose.

In Dr. Austin's assessment, "This patient has a gummy smile, advanced gum disease, unevenly sized teeth, and malocclusion. It's not clear if she has any bottom teeth."

She was definitely dealt a bad hand genetically, likely born with crooked, misshapen teeth. "If we had photos of her parents, we'd almost certainly see that the apple didn't fall far from the tree," says Dr. Austin. But genetics alone are not responsible. Poor oral habits most likely led to gum disease, causing the teeth to shift further.

Dr. Austin recommends an exam and a gum lift to remove extra tissue (~$3000) and ten porcelain veneers on the top teeth to make them appear whiter, straighter, and evenly sized and shaped (~$12,000).

number 3 girl with bunny teeth "Never in my 12 years of practicing dentistry have I seen such a 'special' display of teeth. The cool thing about this young lady is despite having a not-so-Hollywood smile, she still appears to be happy and confident."

This condition is so strange that Dr. Austin would need to examine this happy girl in person to determine a condition. From what Dr. Austin can tell from the photo, "she has a supernumerary (extra tooth) growing between the two upper front teeth, causing them to spread in opposite directions and appear flared." She speculates that this is caused by an over-production of enamel, and is almost certainly a genetic condition.

Fixing this case would most likely involve a root canal, an upper-tooth trimming, removal of the extra tooth, and porcelain crowns. Approximate cost: $18,000.

number 4 brown teeth We showed this photo to Dr. David Ostreicher, a Long Island-based orthodontist, who deemed this a case of poor oral hygiene with a small genetic component. This person has lost some teeth, which is almost always due to periodontal disease. "Usually when an adult gets to this point, it's a result of neglect over a long period of time," he says.

Dr. Ostreicher's plan of attack would be Invisalign therapy to straighten the teeth. "Then I'd recommend removable dentures or dental implants." Estimated pricetag: $12,000 for the uppers, and $18,000 for the lowers. Total time to a new smile: 18 months.

number 5 profile of very bad teeth Obviously this person did not read 6 Foods That Ruin Your Smile!

This case is easily diagnosed: severely stained teeth. Likely culprits are tobacco, coffee, tea, and very poor hygiene. Although this case looks extreme, fixing it is relatively easy: teeth cleaning, professional whitening, and regular use of an electric toothbrush and dental floss. Approximate cost: $1000.

So heed the warning of these five anonymous souls. At first glance, these sets of snaggle teeth seem caused by bad genes, but hygiene is really the common culprit. This means that you have the power to prevent a dental disaster in your mouth. Use it! Brush, floss, and visit your dentist. Otherwise every day may become your own private – and pricey – Halloween.

Catrise Austin, DDS, founder of VIP Smiles, is a New York-based cosmetic dentist.
Dr. David Ostreicher, DDS, MS, MPH is a New York-based orthodontist and author of Brush Your Teeth! and Other Simple Ways to Stay Young and Healthy.

Photo Sources:
Case 1 from Urples's album at Photobucket
Case 2 from ManEatingSpider at Photobucket
Case 3 from welaf.com
Case 4 from HealthyTeeth.org
Case 5 from 71952913@N00's Flickr Stream

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