AFTER A 20-year journey into disrepair, the most famous mouth in NFL history is now in even better shape than during its heyday. William (the Refrigerator) Perry's gap-toothed grin—an icon of the Bears' run to victory in Super Bowl XX—underwent the final stage of dental restoration last week, long after half of the Fridge's teeth had fallen out due to decay (he hadn't gone to the dentist in years because, well, he didn't like going), contact on the football field and a childhood pellet gun (thus that signature gap).
In June, dentists at Sunrise Dental Care, in Geneva, Ill., who had heard about Perry's mouthful of trouble through connections dating to his years in Chicago, contacted the 45-year-old Fridge and offered to repair his teeth for free if he would let Sunrise trumpet the work for promotional purposes. (The cost would have been about $60,000.) Perry, who lives in Aiken, S.C., agreed, and in August all of his remaining teeth were removed by a periodontist and replaced with implants. On Dec. 18, the four-month procedure ended with the installation of 22 porcelain crowns. Said Perry, "It's wonderful. They look great.... And I love them."
COURTESY SUNRISE DENTAL CARE (PERRY AFTER)
THEN ... Perry's gap went to Super Bowl XX.
WALTER IOOSS JR. (PARCELLS)
NOW ... The smile's genuine—but artificial.