We also conjure up witches’ most malicious laughs and forge orcs’ most fearsome tusks. But most of the time, artificial teeth are supposed to look as natural as possible. This is often the case in movie productions as well as in musical and theater productions. A special challenge in these fields are SFX teeth for child actors and actresses, as our work has then to be done in a very sensitive and even more precise way than usual.
Let's do some magic - When effect teeth for children are necessary and what's possible
If the milk teeth of a young actor or actress fall out at the start of production or during filming, artificial teeth are urgently needed – and they have to look absolutely authentic while covering the natural gaps between the teeth. For us, this means working particularly quickly and yet with 100% precision – no problem for us thanks to a mobile scanner, a highly professionally equipped manufactory and great dental technicians.
However, it also happens that the script specifies the loss of a child’s tooth. If the actor or actress is in possession of all his or her own teeth, a purely optical tooth gap must then be created. This is where the great art of the dental technician’s craft comes into play. Custom-made and absolutely lifelike, we work over the child’s teeth a small removable prosthesis – with a visible tooth gap, which is of course also suitable for close-ups.
It becomes very special when a loose tooth is to be extracted in front of a running camera. Then not only must a gap be created that is not actually there – in addition, a single removable tooth must also be placed in the prosthesis. All this is possible. With a lot of dental technical skill and a little alphabite magic. 😉
What is special about fx-teeth for children?
- Children are no small adults: So it is not possible to simply make all SFX teeth a little smaller. Children’s dentures grow and change constantly. In addition, they are naturally very delicate and sensitive. In those cases, something very special has to be worked out with the greatest craftsmanship and decades of experience.
- Creating a stress-free situation: Dealing with children in person also requires the utmost empathy. In addition, it is also important to be extremely well prepared for the appointment and to schedule much more time for it than usual. This gives us the necessary calm and composure to be able to react flexibly to all technical eventualities as well as to any changes in the situation and to respond to the wishes and needs of the children. Because especially our little customers should feel as comfortable as possible with us and their alphabites.
- Children sometimes react physically more sensitively than adults: here, as everywhere, we always and exclusively use high-quality dental acrylics and hypoallergenic materials to minimize any risk.
Show me what you got: Making dental impressions in a stress-free way
As we have already reported in our blog, all good effect teeth always start with the most perfect dental impression possible. That’s why we take an intraoral scan and work internationally with many dentists in cooperation who are specialized in children.
Taking a dental impression in this way is absolutely painless and only takes a few minutes. Nevertheless, it can still feel unfamiliar, especially for children. Therefore, it is necessary to work in a very relaxed and stress-free atmosphere and with a lot of empathy.
The digital dental impression itself is thus made in a very short time, and we receive the data directly to our manufactory within a few minutes. There, our professional dental technicians immediately can get to work.
The perfect illusion - hiding or creating tooth gaps and producing wiggle teeth
Once the tooth model has been produced using the 3D printing process, the highly complex dental work begins. For example, creating a gap where a tooth naturally stands requires great skill. How do you create the illusion of a space where something actually is? Producing a nothing can sometimes be difficult. For this purpose, we have developed our own alphabite techniques. This allows us to create deceptively real gaps in our SFX teeth, and no one will notice that the wearer is actually still in possession of all his or her own teeth.
And if a tooth needs to be extracted on camera? That is also absolutely feasible with effect teeth. In this case, a tooth is placed loosely in the prosthesis. The challenge here is that the wiggly tooth must be secure enough to prevent it from accidentally falling out and possibly being swallowed. At the same time, however, the mechanism must be easy to handle and the tooth must be pulled out effortlessly without the prosthesis slipping in the mouth. At this point, at the latest, it becomes clear how important it is for FX teeth to be made to measure so that they fit absolutely securely and firmly, are uncomplicated to use and at the same time comfortable to wear. A great deal of dental engineering skill is required here because, after all, it is also important that the model is manufactured robustly enough so that the loose tooth can be inserted and removed again and again without the prosthesis becoming unstable.
We recently realized such an order for a film project. In one scene, the little leading actress pulls out a loose tooth herself. So it was all the more important that the mechanism should be child’s play!
The solution: one prosthesis each for the upper and lower jaw, which imitate the child’s dentition 1:1. The lower denture has only two artificial teeth where natural gaps had to be covered. The remaining teeth are free. The wiggle tooth is built into the upper jaw splint … Can you guess which one it is?