Dental Research

Stranger Things teaches us about a rare dental condition.

October 12, 2016

The Netflix sci-fi series Stranger Things was a smashing success this summer for the streaming company, appealing to a broad fan base with its 1980s nostalgia, supernatural thrills, and endearing characters.

One of those characters (and the actor who portrays him) has a rare condition called cleidocranial dysplasia, which affects the development of the bones and teeth and can lead to dental abnormalities. Individuals with the condition can experience delayed loss of their primary teeth and delayed appearance of their secondary teeth, along with dental crowding and extra teeth.

In this short video, the child actor Gaten Matarazzo explains the condition and how the show helped him raise awareness of it through his character, Dustin (one of four middle school kids who unravel a supernatural mystery in their suburban Indiana town to the tune of a fantastic analog synth soundtrack).

Oral intervention is almost always a necessity for patients with cleidocranial dysplasia. It’s a lengthy process that can span several years, with multiple procedures including tooth extraction, orthodontic alignment, prosthetic replacement of missing teeth, and cosmetic dentistry for misshapen teeth.

Dental health issues pop up in strange places. Who knows what season 2 has in store…