October 13th, 2017
IT’S EASY TO REMEMBER the character Count Dracula, a vampire, seen as a popular costume for both children and adults at Halloween. Dracula’s appearance is unforgettable as a thin, pale, tall man with a long nose, pointed ears, dressed in black, wearing a black cape.
But the most unforgettable feature of Count Dracula's appearance is his teeth. Sharp and pointy, they were described in Bram Stoker's original 1897 Gothic novel Dracula as “a smile of which the Count could not be proud.”
Although the novel Dracula is a work of fiction, it does contain historical references to Transylvanian-born Voivode Vlad III Dracula of Wallachia who reigned as ruler from 1456-1462. “Dracula” means “Son of Dracul,” Order of the Dragon knights, founded by Sigismund of Luxembourg (then King of Hungary).
As An Orthodontist, I’ve Wondered...
As an orthodontist, I’ve often wondered, did the historical figure Vlad Dracula have hypererupted maxillary canines?
Upper side teeth (maxillary canines) that stick out too far (hypererupt) are common and affect 1-2 percent of the population. Because these upper canine teeth are the last teeth to come in at the front of the dental arch, they are the teeth that most often stick out.
This is a serious orthodontic problem not only for the sake of appearance, but also because it may lead to these teeth getting stuck in the bone (dental impaction) or making the roots of surrounding teeth dissolve (root resorption), which could lead to tooth loss. This occurs when not enough space is available in the dental arch for the canine teeth. There also appears to be a genetic basis for this eruption phenomenon.
Early Orthodontic Treatment Could Have Prevented It...
The prevention of this “Dracula tooth” problem is to orthodontically create enough space early. This can be done by orthodontic dental arch expansion or tooth extraction, which is what we do at Gorczyca Orthodontics in Antioch, California. For this reason, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child receive an orthodontic examination by age 7, and so does Orthodontist, Dr. Ann Marie Gorczyca.
Count Dracula’s life could have been changed by early orthodontic treatment. Perhaps he could have grown garlic in the sunlight, lit more candles, smiled more often, married, had children, and lived happily ever after in his Carpathian Mountain castle!