My friends and I just finished watching Bohemian Rhapsody and got to talking about Freddie Mercury’s teeth. Supposedly, he never got them fixed because he was afraid it would change his voice. Is it true that braces do this? And, even though Invisalign didn’t exist back then, would that maybe have worked better for him if it did?
There’s a whole lot of talk about Freddie Mercury’s teeth lately. Most reports say he had four extra teeth. In the dental world, that’s referred to as hyperdontia, and it affects 1-4% of the population. A whole lot of the reports say all four were in his upper jaw. That would be pretty extreme and is fairly unlikely, considering he has severe crowding on both his upper and lower jaws. Chances are, he had one extra tooth in each quadrant of his mouth.
One way to think of this is to compare it to wisdom teeth. If you have adequate space in your mouth for them and they come in well, they go right in place and don’t cause an issue. Most of us don’t have the space for them or they come in facing the wrong way/ twisted/ angled, so as they come in, they push all the other teeth together toward the front of the mouth. Freddie had this too, but it was amplified because there were even more teeth coming in.
Just like wisdom teeth, extra teeth or hyperdontic teeth don’t always need to be removed. The concern comes in when they move the other teeth out of position. That changes the bite and also makes it really hard to keep the teeth clean, thus increasing the risk of decay. So, most dentists will preemptively remove those teeth—saving the patient from a crooked smile and inevitable decay.
As you noted, Freddie was resistant to this because he thought it would change his voice. He wasn’t worried about what it would be like during treatment, so it’s not a matter of braces vs Invisalign, but rather whether changing the teeth changes the voice.
Well, let’s consider the inverse for just a moment. The actor who played Mercury was a guy named Rami Malek. In order to do the role, he had a prosthesis made. His fake “Freddie teeth” went on over the top of his natural ones and he wore them throughout filming. Malek actually had his teeth made before the film even got the greenlight and he went straight to work; wearing them daily and practicing talking and singing in them. You can hear the finished product in the movie. In other words, his voice didn’t change, but he had to learn to adapt to the shape of his teeth. It would have been the same for Mercury.
Modern singers would do well to consult with their dentists first, but Invisalign may be a better option for situations like this because they can take them out for performances or learn to sing with them on, just as Malek did with his prosthesis.