Dental crown maker creates 'tooth tattoos'

A dental crown maker has added a new element to his business: placing images on the teeth he creates.

David W. Roberts, owner of Blue Crown Dental Arts in Kennewick, WA, calls his craft "tooth tattooing," although he is actually painting the images, according to an article in the News Tribune.

Roberts began painting dental crowns 40 years ago while working as a dental technician when a dental assistant asked for a daisy painted on a tooth. He estimates that he has painted 250 crowns since then. Sports logos are frequently requested, the article noted. Others request pets or flowers.

The powdered pigments Roberts uses are blended with propylene glycol to create paint. Figuring out which stains worked best took time; some faded when the crown was placed in a firing oven, the article explained. For projects such as an American flag, he paints one color first, fires the crown, and then paints the others so that they don't bleed. Afterward, he applies a clear coat.

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