In recent weeks, the world has been abuzz with news of what has been deemed the wedding of the decade - the union of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. The frenzy has drawn impassioned reactions of both excitement and criticism, and fans of the royal couple have made news with their unique tributes to the wedding. One British man took his love for the royal couple to a new level, however, when he had images of Will and Kate tattooed on his front teeth.
"I love the royal family and this way my way of lending support for their big day," Barmy Baz Franks said.
It is estimated that Franks spent nearly $2,000 on the procedure, which took a total of six hours to complete. His dentist, Dr. Neil Gerrard, used stencils to paint the intricate images onto Franks' teeth.
While most people were shocked that anyone would actually brand their teeth, the truth is that dental tattoos have been a trend for quite some time. Decorating teeth is actually an ancient practice. For example, Chinese and Japanese women used to color their teeth as part of a beauty routine. Today, dental tattoos are the latest way for people to express their individuality.
For Franks, the images of the royal couple were painted directly onto his natural teeth, and will be visible for a few short months. In most cases, however, dental tattoos are crafted on dental restorations including porcelain veneers, dental crowns, bridges, or implants. Many individuals who would like a tattoo but do not want it to be visible see dental tattoos as a welcome alternative because they can be placed on the back teeth.
While there are clearly limitations on the size of a dental tattoo, there are still a number of designs that can be placed onto the teeth. When it comes to choosing the design of your dental tattoo, most labs advise simplicity. Because the image is so small, a simple design looks best and will be most recognizable. One company, Heward Dental Lab, prides themselves on bringing artistry to dental restorations. According to their website, "technicians were trained first to be artists and then taught how to construct teeth." The designs that the lab have previously created range from depictions of Simon Cowell's face to Mickey Mouse ears and musical notes. The creative possibilities are endless.
The process for receiving dental tattoos on synthetic teeth is relatively similar to a typical dental restoration process. After your initial visit, the impressions of your teeth will be sent to a dental lab that specializes in dental tattoos. The lab will craft a strong restoration and paint the image onto the tooth. The crown, veneer, bridge, or implant is then sent back to your dentist where it will be fitted and placed. The price of the procedure varies greatly, depending on complexity of the tattoo design, as well as the nature of the dental work being completed.
For tattoo enthusiasts, dental art has undeniable benefits. Unlike other tattoos, dental tattoos do not have to be permanent. Individuals who receive tattoos on crowns or implants can easily have the image removed by grinding down a small part of the top layer of the tooth. In addition, dental tattoos are a welcome-alternative for those whose profession frowns upon visible tattoos. While there is no telling if Franks' royal couple tattoo will ignite the popularity of dental tattoos, it certainly highlights this unique facet of the tattoo world.
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