False Teeth Tomfoolery

In real life, false teeth are a sign of age, poor health/dental care, or a combo thereof. As such, they are typically not a laughing matter. However, in fiction, false teeth are usually treated as hilarious and/or gross.

In many cases, old people have no problem letting you know their teeth are false, and spitting or whipping them out to show you, still dripping with saliva. It's also not uncommon for the false teeth to be left behind either, due to biting into tough food (or even non-edible objects) or the person in question just forgetting about them and leaving them behind. And that's not getting into using them as musical instruments - they make good castanets, apparently. No matter what form it takes, the bottom line is this - false teeth are funny.

Phlegmings commonly overlaps with this trope. Compare and contrast Cranium Chase, where a character getting decapitated is played for similar humor.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Weaponized by Shark Man Arlong in One Piece, with his actual teeth. He can remove his teeth (somehow still in one castanet-shaped piece) and use them as handheld ... bitey-things. He can also do this repeatedly, leading to him Dual Wielding sets of teeth in his hands while biting with his mouth.

    Comic Strips 
  • This is a common theme in The Broons.
  • In one Garfield strip, Jon had a blind date with an older woman. He called her to let her know he found her teeth.
  • Beetle Bailey: The General tries to demonstrate Pin-Pulling Teeth and ends up throwing a grenade with his dentures attached to it.

    Films — Animation 
  • Carl Fredrickson from Up has dentures. During his fight with Charles Muntz, he spits them out at him.
  • In Monsters, Inc., one of the monsters wears giant fang dentures as part of his preparation to scare children. He switches them for a pair of giant comic clackety false teeth once the factory uses laugh power instead of scream power.
  • Meet the Robinsons: The whole "meeting the Robinson family" part happens while Louis and Grandpa look for Grandpa's teeth. Frankie the Frog was wearing them the whole time.
  • Hotel Transylvania 2: Vlad pulls out his false fangs, to the disgust of his family, who ask him to put them back in.
  • In Allegro non Troppo, in the "Afternoon of a Faun" segment, an elderly faun is trying to seduce a young nymph. She offers him an apple, he takes a bite and hands it back to her ... with his dentures still stuck in it. She runs off in disgust.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Played with in Tim Burton's Batman. After the titular character socks the Joker in the mouth, he gets up with his hands cupped over his face, moaning, and then appearing to spit out some clacking clockwork teeth that were presumably hidden in his hands - he never lost his actual teeth (or at least not the lot).
  • In Dennis the Menace, Dennis finds the false teeth of his neighbor Mr.Wilson and plays with them, accidentally knocking out the two front teeth. He tries to fill them in with white gum. It works about as well as you'd expect
  • Ed Wood: Ed scares some trick-or-treating kids who mock Bela Lugosi's attempts to frighten them by yanking out his partial.
    Ed Wood: Lost my pearlies in the war!
  • Parodied to heck and beyond in Hot Shots! Part Deux. After losing his lunch to the sight of dinner, President Benson recovers his dentures from the bile and accidentally deposits it into the the Japanese Prime Minister's wine glass. He then (unsuccessfully) attempts to retrieve it, which results in the Prime Minister freaking out when he sees said dentures in his glass. It doesn't end there; President Benson picks up his dentures and puts them back, on the wrong side giving him a sharp-jawed appearance. The Prime Minister then is so startled by this development, he leaps into the arms of his wife from sheer terror.
  • James Bond villain "Jaws" subverts the trope by using false teeth in a non-humorous manner. Sharp metal ones.
  • Former cowboy turned cowboy actor Hobie Doyle in Hail, Caesar! whips out his dental prosthesis on a date, explaining this as the result of a hoof to the face. The girl he's with (equally wholesome starlet Carlotta Valdes) is at first startled, then delighted.
  • The Bullet Farmer in Mad Max: Fury Road has replaced all of his upper teeth with ammunition. At one point, he even rips one out to load one of his guns.
  • Mr. Deltoid, Alex's "post-corrective adviser," in A Clockwork Orange drinks several sips of water from a glass, before realising they contain false dentures.
  • In Red River, Groot bets his false teeth, which he only uses for eating, in a poker game and loses. He's forced to go to the winner whenever he wants to eat.

    Jokes 
  • There's an old joke about a bar bet where a customer bets he can't bite his own eye... then of course takes out his false teeth.

    Literature 
  • In Worldwar, Sam Yeager is always making jokes involving his dental plates. He does it when he's in his seventies, but because he had Spanish Influenza as a kid and lost his teeth very young, he's been doing it his whole life.
  • One Encyclopedia Brown story involved Bugs Meany stealing someone's collection of false teeth and using them as castanets, like the Tom and Jerry example below.
  • In Augusten Burroughs' memoir Running with Scissors, young Augusten compliments his mother's boyfriend's teeth—who then removes them and offers them to him.
  • Discworld
    • In Making Money, Cribbins has a set of false teeth that he stole from a dead man's mouth; they're always causing trouble for him. Becomes quite serious at the end, though, when, as Cribbins is trying to rob Moist, the teeth fall to bits and cause him to be taken to hospital to get the springs removed from some very uncomfortable places.
    • In Nanny Ogg's Cookbook, Nanny's etiquette guide says that it is acceptable to remove your false teeth behind a napkin before eating corn on the cob, but "do not do the gottle-o-geer routine, because no-one ever laughs".
  • In To Kill a Mockingbird, the children regard Cool Old Lady Miss Maudie's false teeth as an impressive distinction.
  • In Around the World with Auntie Mame, the oversized, ancient and yellowed dentures worn by Lady Hermione Gravell-Pitt are a Running Gag and end up being the punchline to the whole England chapter.
  • David Sedaris's story "That's Amore" is about a horrible old neighbor of his who at one point calls him to come over and fish her teeth out of the bushes in front of their building, where they fell when she was yelling out the window at someone for throwing a lit cigarette away.
    Back upstairs, I found Helen waiting. She slid the dentures, unwashed, back into her mouth, and it was like popping the batteries into a particularly foul toy. "Rat bastard motherfucker could have set our whole building on fire!"
  • When the Great Glass Elevator crash-lands into the Bucket house at the end of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it's noted that "Grandma Josephine dropped her false teeth" in shock.
  • In Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code, the Big Bad's bodyguard loses his teeth when hit by a Sonic Stunner. When he reappears later in the novel, it's mentioned that he's gotten several custom sets of dentures, including a set that is transparent and filled with oil and blue water.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Sophia from The Golden Girls only occasionally mentions her false teeth. An instance when she does:
    Sophia: Dorothy, have you seen my teeth?
    Dorothy: They're in your mouth, Ma.
    Sophia: I know that. Don't they look good today? I ran them through the dishwasher.
  • Pair of Kings: Boomer's false teeth fall out onto the floor while he and Brady are on the walking wheel.
  • Alluded to in Red Dwarf. One Space Corps Directive states, "No officer with false teeth should attempt to perform oral sex in zero gravity."
  • Kickin' It: one of the dojo's students recounts dancing. He kicks off a shoe which lands in a senior citizen's mouth. When he retrieves the shoe, the senior's teeth come out with it.
  • In the Musical Episode of Even Stevens, one of the steps in the gym-class obstacle course involves a bunch of chattering false teeth.
  • On Family Feud, any time there's a question involving the elderly, invariably one of the answers will be "teeth".
  • In one episode of Seinfeld, Jerry volunteers at a charity that provides someone for lonely seniors to talk to. Hilarity Ensues, and Kramer ends up being bitten by the old man Jerry is assigned to. The old man's teeth get flung across the room, then ground up in the garbage disposal when George tries to turn on a light to look for them.

    Music 
  • Classic limerick:
    An elderly fellow called Keith
    Mislaid his set of false teeth.
    They'd been laid on a chair,
    He'd forgot they were there,
    Sat down, and was bitten beneath!

    Video Games 
  • Day of the Tentacle features George Washington as a character, so naturally fun is made of his false teeth. Another puzzle involves the dentures of a talking horse.
  • An espionage variant appears in a Team Fortress 2 supplemental comic, Unhappy Returns. Spy and Scout are in prison, and Spy warns Scout that the food they are being given has been laced with anti-psychotics and muscle relaxers, and he'd rather have a clear head in preparation for his upcoming trial. He sits at the table, pulling several false teeth from his mouth, which are revealed to include several tiny objects, such as a Cornish hen dinner, a candelabra, and a balisong (butterfly knife).
  • The End's poignant death soliloquy in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater comes to an abrupt stop when the explosive in his body arms itself and he spits his false teeth into the air, where they hover in slow motion for a moment just before he goes kablooey.
  • Oume and Otane Goketsuji from Power Instinct have a move where they spit their dentures at the enemy. Yeah, it's that kind of game...
  • In Yakuza: Dead Souls Majima believes he is turning into a zombie after getting bitten by a zombified old man. Turns out that he was fine since the zombie had fake teeth and his eyes turning red was just because itís pollen season and heís been having an allergic reaction the whole time.

    Western Animation 
  • Classic Betty Boop cartoon "Ha! Ha! Ha!" includes anthropomorphic false teeth when she and Koko dabble in dentistry.
  • On Futurama Prof. Farnsworth has nuclear-powered dentures, which prechew his food before putting it in his mouth. They go berserk in a diner after accidentally biting Fry and getting a taste for human flesh.
  • Kick Buttowski: Kick's grandfather explains that his false teeth are why he tends to eat "mush".
  • Classic Disney Shorts: Several instances in early black-and-white shorts...
    • Steamboat Willie has the false teeth behaving anthropomorphically.
    • In The Opry House, a pig in the orchestra takes out his teeth and clicks it to the beat of "Habanera".
    • In Mickey's Choo-Choo, Mickey takes out a dog's teeth to use as a can opener.
    • Horace is shown having false teeth in The Fire Fighters.
  • One of the segments in the Gravity Falls episode "Bottomless Pit!" had Mabel swap Grunkle Stan's false teeth with a set of magic gold teeth that forced him to always tell the truth.
  • The Fairly Oddparents has a cartoon in which George Washington's false teeth are made fun of.
  • Looney Tunes: Daffy Duck sings the following in Daffy Doodles:
    She was an acrobat's daughter
    She swung by her teeth from a noose
    But one matinée, her bridgework gave 'way
    And she flew through the air like a goose!
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • "Family Appreciation Day" has Granny Smith doing a Tasty Gold sort of test on cooking pot, and then walking away, displeased with what she finds. Her teeth are left on the edge of the pot, and Apple Bloom has to retrieve them for her.
    • In "Apple Family Reunion", Granny Smith tells the story of an old relative of the Apple family, who got the name Apple Sauce when she dropped her false teeth into a vat of apple jam. Throughout the episode, much amusement is had involving Aunt Apple Sauce's dentures.
      Apple Sauce: Yeah... never did find them teeth in all those jars.
  • The Simpsons: Grandpa has false teeth and occasionally takes them out; plus one time he was babysitting and Bart pulled them out of Grandpa's mouth and put them in his own mouth, and took a ride on the ceiling fan with them. When Homer & Marge came home Bart taped them up real quick and shoved them back into Grandpa's mouth.
    • In the episode which crosses over with The X-Files a turtle has somehow captured Grandpa's teeth and is making off with them. Grandpa can't catch the turtle.
    • One episode has him getting a job at a Krusty Burger and jokingly places his dentures in a hamburger bun. "Ever seen a sandwich that could take a bite out of you?" The indifferent teenage coworker putting burgers in a take-out bag grabs the denture sandwich and gives it to a customer.
  • Tom and Jerry:
    • "Love That Pup" has an instance of false teeth being used as castanets.
    • "Solid Serenade" has Spike the bulldog take out his regular canine teeth, and install instead another set with larger, sharper teeth meant to take a bite out of Tom Cat.
  • Doug: The episode "Doug's Dental Disaster" shows that the title character's next-door neighbor Mr. Dink wears a set of chompers in his mouth to replace his real teeth that fell out due to far too many cavities.
  • Rugrats: Grandpa loses his false teeth at a picnic in an episode, where he needs them to play correctly in a brass band, causing Tommy and Chuckie to go on an adventure to get them back for him.
  • Johnny Bravo: Johnny is convinced he is getting old. Somebody hands him a pair of false teeth, and he shoves them into his mouth, inside of his real, perfect teeth.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: "The Laughing" - A clown takes a hard fall, knocking his false teeth loose. They go flying across the yard and bite Dexter, turning him into a were-clown.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: "Has Been Hero" Kwan the Unkillable accidentally spits out his false teeth — repeatedly — in his meeting with Po.
  • Erky Perky:
    Moldy Van Oldy: ...so I said "If you're going to do that with my teeth, we should get married!"
  • Time Squad In one episode, Buck Tuddrussel and his ex-wife Sheila Sternwell were jovially talking about their past missions when Sheila asks him if he remembered the time that Mother Teresa knocked his tooth out. He pulls out his false tooth to show that he certainly couldn't forget about it.
  • In the Wander over Yonder episode "The Loose Screw", Old Superhero Stella Starbella uses her false teeth as a weapon against Mandrake the Malfeasant's Mecha-Mooks.
  • Inspector Gadget's teeth are shown to be these in "Prince of the Gypsies." They can pop out of his mouth and fly around by remote control.
  • In Rolie Polie Olie there is a running gag where Pappy's false teeth jump out of his mouth and begin eating everything in sight.


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