Global Health Nexus, Winter 2004

Our Favorite Ballerina Opts for a Natural Look


Several years ago, Gillian Murphy, the American Ballet Theater dancer featured on our cover, began aesthetic dental care at NYU Dentistry with the help of a grant from the Smigel Aesthetic Dentistry Fund. “I want to have a nice smile,” she said, “but I want to have the minimal amount of dentistry necessary.”

Gillian required a combination of prosthodontic and orthodontic care, which was provided by Dr. Edward B. Goldin, a third-year postdoctoral student in the Jonathan and Maxine Ferencz Advanced Education Program in Prosthodontics and Dr. T. J. Albert, a 2003 graduate of the Advanced Education Program in Orthodontics, who developed her treatment plan in consultation with faculty members in their respective programs. The before and after photos of Ms. Murphy’s mouth are shown to the left.

The beautiful young ballerina’s teeth were crowded together on the bottom and twisted side to side on the top with some awkward spacing. She was also congenitally missing her lateral incisors (the teeth on either side of the front two teeth). Using digital diagnostic photography, Drs. Goldin and Albert were able to give Gillian an idea of what she would look like even before treatment began. Ultimately, they extracted one lower tooth to relieve the crowded condition, and did traditional orthodontics (placed braces) on both her top and bottom teeth. Gillian wore the braces for a year and a half so that Dr. Albert could align her teeth, close all the spaces, and eliminate the need to replace the missing upper lateral incisor on one side. However, this procedure could not be performed on both sides, because of potential problems with her bite.

A resin-bonded prosthesis (a false tooth that hangs off the canine) was made to replace Gillian’s lateral incisor on that side, since the small size of the space made it impossible to place an implant. On the other side, since the canine was moved into the position where the lateral incisor would normally be, a porcelain laminate veneer was created in order to reshape the canine. Finally,enameloplasty (recontouring) of all the anterior teeth was done to make the smile harmonious. This was followed by tooth whitening.

Following her treatment at NYU Dentistry, Ms. Murphy was elevated to the status of principal ballerina at the ABT, where she has scored notable successes in full-length classics including Don Quixote, Giselle, La Bayadere, Swan Lake, and La Fille Mal Gardée.