Husband seeks a tooth tattoo despite wife's hesitation

March 29, 2012
Issue 3

As a follow up to an article from last month about tooth tattoos, we'd like to share a recent submission to an advice column in the York Daily Record.

As a follow up to an article from last month about tooth tattoos, we'd like to share a recent submission to an advice column in the York Daily Record.

Dear Dr. Reitz: My husband has a broken tooth and our dentist recommends fixing it with a crown. He asked the dentist if a deer head could be painted on the porcelain crown.

As the wife of a hunter, I have come to accept a yearly new trophy on our family room wall and listening over and over to his stories about the hunt. I believe I have been very supportive of his hobby, but seeing a deer head every time he smiles is more than I can handle.

Will the addition of a deer head shorten the life of the crown? I need a reason to convince him to have just a regular crown made to replace his broken tooth. - Mary, Brecknock Township

Dear Mary: Making a crown for your husband requires both a skilled dentist and a talented dental laboratory technician. In addition to understanding the design of teeth and lab technology, the best dental technicians also are artistic.

Each person's teeth are a unique shade of white with crack lines and intrinsic stains that often occur over time. For the lab technician to make a crown match the neighboring teeth, it's necessary to custom stain the porcelain prior to baking it in a special oven. At the technician's disposal are a rainbow of color stains and shades of porcelain powders that can also be used to create designs.

Patients do not frequently request adding a design or what's termed a "tooth tattoo" to their crown. When they are requested, it is usually a logo of sports teams or pictures of cats or dogs or portraits of celebrities. Generally the crown tattoo is for a back molar, which is only seen when the person pulls their cheek out of the way with their finger.

Your husband certainly has a passion for his hunting and I understand your concern at seeing a deer head every time he smiles. Unfortunately for you, adding a tattoo design to a porcelain crown does not adversely affect its strength or longevity.

The problem with a crown tattoo is that the tooth is so small that the image often looks like food stuck to the tooth and impossible to recognize the image, unless the viewer gets very close. I suspect most of his friends will not want to get close enough to his mouth to get a clear look.

Hopefully for you, this is a compelling reason to change your husband's intention to display his hobby in his mouth. Your other option is to never give him a reason to smile.

Source: York Daily Record