Saturday, July 4, 2009

Farrah Fawcett

Farrah Fawcett

Remembering Farrah's Smile

I remember when Farrah Fawcett first became popular in the 70's. She had three beautiful features that were remarkable. Her hair was billowing full and beautiful. In her swimsuit and other poses, her body was ideal. Her smile was sensational.

Farrah's Swimsuit poster
For many young men and boys, Farrah Fawcett's swimsuit poster was treasured. Her smile was not the primary reason for her popularity in that poster. I remember one of my classmates had the swimsuit poster hanging in his cubicle in the senior dental clinic. I had the pleasure of seeing Farrah smiling back at me every day that year.

Farrah Fawcett, The poster girl for cosmetic dentistry
Prior to this time cosmetic dentistry did not exist. We did not have the materials or the mindset for cosmetic dentistry. We had essentially no cosmetic filling materials, and tooth whitening was unknown. Bonding and veneers had yet to be invented. Orthodontics consisted of lining up the teeth only with little attention to the esthetic look of the face. We had porcelain, but the colors were not ideal. Single tooth implants did not exist and gum disease meant disfiguring gum surgery.

Farrah Fawcett had a smile that changed how many dentists thought about smiles
People have long been interested in looking like their favorite models and entertainment idols. Women and men shopped for clothing these stars wore. Women would take magazine pictures to the hair stylist and say make me look like this. All types of cosmetic surgery techniques were being used to look better. I remember my girlfriend getting a "nose job" to enhance her looks. The demand for cosmetic enhancement had reached dentistry now.

Farrah Fawcett’s impact on Orthodontics
Farrah had this wide smile and her teeth were like a string of endless pearls. Dentistry took notice and we wondered if we could duplicate this type of smile for our patients. We could certainly make the teeth straight, but could we help people have a wide full smile and eliminate the caved in look of the face after traditional “extraction orthodontics”.

Orthodontists and general dentists can align crowded teeth by two methods or a combination of them. The first method is by removing tooth structure through extraction of teeth, or thinning the width of the teeth. The second is to expand the radius of the arch by pushing the teeth out to a larger arch form. In most crowded tooth cases it was thought better to extract teeth. It worked quite well and most orthodontists and general dentists became enamored with the “extraction orthodontic” method. In fact there was a saying, “4 on the floor buys a new Porsche”.

Thanks to Farrah Fawcett, orthodontics had an additional goal and a face to illustrate it. Orthodontists and general dentists started looking closer at the face to help determine the best cosmetic result for the patient. The expansion of the arch technique coupled with a little thinning if absolutely necessary gave a better cosmetic result to the face in many crowded tooth cases.

At Crystal Lake Dental Associates, we offer Invisalign and Rapid Clear Braces. Both of these services are aimed at the late teen to adult patient desiring smile enhancement. We offer a many other cosmetic services as well. To see all of our cosmetic services, click here.

Thank you for all that you have done and who you were. Rest in peace, you will be missed.

Phillip C. Neal DDS

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About Me

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Born in the Midwest. Married with 6 children and 3 grandchildren. Attended Maine West High School, Harper Jr College, Northern Illinois University, the University of Illinois College of Dentistry. Practice in Crystal Lake, Illinois.