Are you considering using prosthetic teeth as part of your Halloween costume this year? If yes, here’s your reminder to be really careful about it: An Alabama woman’s fake “devil teeth” got stuck on her actual teeth after a Halloween event she attended in costume last Friday night. She’s fine now — an emergency trip to the dentist ended happily, rather than scarily — but, uh… well, let’s just say that I’ve been put right off the idea of costume teeth now. Probably for good.
According to the Ledger-Enquirer, Anna Tew had volunteered for a Halloween event held by a local school in Mobile, Ala. on Friday. She dressed up as a zombie for the occasion, using a pair of $3 “devil teeth” to finish off her costume. The fake teeth included a dental adhesive to keep them in place — but when Tew attempted to remove the teeth to drink some water a few hours into the event, she discovered that the adhesive worked a little too well. “I tried to give them a little tug, and they wouldn’t come out,” she told the Ledger-Enquirer.
It got worse after she went home. The “devil teeth” wouldn’t budge. Drinking something warm to loosen them up didn’t help; nor did cutting off the tips of the fake teeth, which Tew told WKRG she accomplished with wire clippers. What’s more, they weren’t just interfering with her ability to eat and drink; they were horribly painful, too.
She ultimately ended up making an emergency dental appointment with Dr. John Murphy at Alabama Family Dental — who, thankfully, was able to remove the costume teeth. Initially, though, even the dental team was stumped. “They looked and pulled a little bit, and they were like, “Well, we’re going to have to use a saw or cut it off in sections or drill it off,’” Tew said to the Ledger-Enquirer. “They really didn’t know what to do.” They couldn’t even numb her mouth while they worked on her, because they needed her to be able to tell them what it felt like as they worked on her mouth — largely so they didn’t accidentally pull her actual teeth out.
Eventually, though, Dr. Murphy was able to loosen one side. The other followed shortly thereafter — and finally, Tew’s teeth were free. Thank goodness.
Although fake teeth can be a perfect addition to many a costume, dental professionals do recommend taking a number of precautions before popping them in to protect your own pearly whites. Lynn Creek Dental Care, for example, recommends cleaning the costume teeth thoroughly with hot, soapy water or soaking them overnight in a solution like Efferdent to minimize the chance of developing an infection from them; you should also make sure not to wear them for more than a few hours at a time, and to remove them if your mouth starts to ache, according to the Grand Prairie, Texas-based dental office.
The Burgess Center for Cosmetic Dentistry in Jacksonville Beach, Fla., meanwhile, recommends that you “take a bite test” before using a pair of costume teeth for an extended amount of time. “Fake vampire teeth should be flexible enough that they won’t cut into your gum, or in to your friend’s skin should you get a little carried away for the role playing for that Facebook photo,” writes the dental team on their blog. To test them, they suggest, “Gently rub your fingers over the tips of the teeth. If they’re too rigid, choose another set. Be sure to file down any too-sharp points or edges with an emery board.”
Craig S. Armstrong, DDS, who is based out of Houston, Texas, recommends avoiding costume teeth that require adhesive to stay in altogether. The adhesive, he notes, can “cause problems with your dental work,” particularly if you have veneers.
Anna Tew will certainly be staying away from them from here on out. “I will never put those things in my mouth again, period,” she told the Ledger-Enquirer.
Can’t say I blame her.