Undead Dentistry

When Len Radin, D73, decided that Dracula would be the fall play for the drama team he coaches at Drury High School in North Adams, Massachusetts, he instantly thought of one thing: fabulous, fearsome, functional fangs.

Radin has been running a dental practice in North Adams for 36 years and working with Drury thespians for twenty-two, drawing on his extensive background as a director and performer in community and professional theater. Usually those two sides of his life remain separate, except for the moments when his pager goes off during rehearsal and someone pipes up with, “Uh oh, Doc has to do a root canal.” But producing the horror classic presented him with a rare opportunity to draw on both areas of expertise.

Len Radin and his cast of student performers

Len Radin and his toothsome cast

First he considered the fact that she-vampires tend to have smaller mouths than he-vampires. “Normally when you think about Dracula, you think about the canines being longer,” he says. “But in women, if I did the canines, you wouldn’t see them.” He concluded that for the young women cast as Dracula’s vixens, building up the lateral incisors—the teeth on either side of the two front teeth—made more sense.

Then he contemplated the material he might use for that purpose. He nixed the stuff costume stores sell, which you put in hot water and then push up against your teeth. “It’s fine for Halloween, but you can’t articulate with that,” he points out.

Dracula, in particular, has a huge number of lines, and I wampt to thuck your blub wasn’t going to cut it. In the end, he dipped into his own dental-grade methyl methacrylic, a material typically used for fillings.

And finally, because the vampires would need to not only talk but jump, fight, and, yes, bite, Radin supplied them with plenty of denture adhesive. Voila—removable, realistic fangs that last through multiple killings.

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