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Gold has been used by dentists as filling for cavities as well as prosthetic teeth for centuries, because of its resistance to corrosion. Gold teeth are also somewhat of a status symbol and a symbol of wealth in certain parts of the world. In Fictionland, it can also be an indicator that a character is wealthy, but characters with gold teeth tend to be villains at least most of the time, perhaps because it can also be an indicator of greed, ostentation, and conspicuous consumption. In Real Life
often associated with The New Russia
in Europe, since gold was commonly used in Soviet dentistry (now mostly phased out with modern ceramics).
Silver teeth seem to be less common in fiction. At times it might be accompanied by an Audible Gleam
. It can be a realistic justification for a Twinkle Smile
. A common feature
of Gold Makes Everything Shiny
Compare Purple Is Powerful
Anime and Manga
- Richie Rich had his dog Dollar fitted with gold braces to correct an overbite problem that he had, which were so shiny that it blinded would-be robbers and assailants. Of course, it also attracted the attention of a female dog, which made Dollar refuse having his braces removed until he was passed over for another male dog.
- Tuco, the "Ugly" from the film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, has a prominent silver tooth.
- Harry, one of the bandits from Home Alone, has a gold tooth, which produces a rare live-action Twinkle Smile. When Kevin recognizes it, he realizes Harry was the same man posing as a police officer at the beginning of the film.
- Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean has several.
- In Eight Legged Freaks, at the end, the DJ character smiles to reveal a mouthful of these to indicate a Happy Ending.
- Jaws from the James Bond series had steel teeth.
- Alex in the movie version of Everything Is Illuminated has a gold tooth, but that may just be because he was played by Gogol Bordello singer Eugene Hutz, who has a gold tooth.
- One of the villains in the movie version of Pippi Longstocking sings an entire musical number fantasizing about buying one.
- DJay in Hustle And Flow has a gold tooth and jewelry. Writer/Director Craig Brewer noted that big-name rappers typically have platinum grills and jewelry these days, but DJay is still an aspiring no-name who must hustle for every dollar he gets. Brewer says that he wants Hustle and Flow to be "a gold movie."
- Death Hunt (1981). Albert Johnson, a Yukon trapper in 1931, is wrongfully accused of being a "mad trapper" believed to be murdering people for their gold teeth. After the real Mad Trapper is shot in the face and found to be carrying a pouch full of gold teeth, the Mounties pretend it's Albert Johnson's body and let him escape.
- A soldier nicknamed "The Dentist" who'd steal gold teeth from battlefield corpses had to be taken out of Windtalkers because it was Backed by the Pentagon, even though such acts were Truth in Television.
- Schindler's List:
- The grateful Schindlerjuden craft a ring for Oskar Schindler using one guy's gold fillings. The man seemed a pretty good sport about it, as they got him very drunk so they could extract the teeth.
- Far less heartwarmingly, earlier in the film we see piles of gold teeth among the Jewish property seized by the Nazis.
- Likewise The Monuments Men come across an entire barrel full of gold teeth among a depository of Nazi loot.
- Bullet-Tooth Tony, in Snatch., was shot six times in one sitting and survived. Doug the Head molded the bullets into gold (don't think too hard about that) and now Tony wears them as teeth.
- In The Phantom, one of the thieves in the opening action sequence has a gold tooth.
- Projectionists screening The Life of General Villa (1914) were physically sick over footage of impoverished Mexican peasants using rocks to smash the gold teeth out of corpses left by the firing squads.
- In the first section of A Canticle for Leibowitz, an ancient rumour that the Beatified Leibowitz's wife had a gold tooth played a role in identifying her remains.
- Cohen the Barbarian of the Discworld took this trope Up to Eleven when he had a complete set of dentures made from diamond.
- In the WW2 novels by Sven Hassel, Porta and Tiny have a habit of collecting gold teeth from the corpses of those killed.
- Old Man Hottabych has the titular genie give himself golden teeth, after seeing a man who has a few and deciding it is cool. He also does the same for his friends (two schoolboys). Of course, they don't like it, so he reverses it - for them; he keeps his own golden teeth. Later, they release his jerkass brother, who, upon seeing the golden teeth, decided to outdo it and gives himself diamond ones. He regrets it a few moments later; 32 sharp gems in your mouth isn't a pleasant experience, although he is too proud to admit it and undo the magic.
- One Hercule Poirot story involves a man who describes such a person tailing him. Poirot later ridicules the story, pointing out how clichéd it is (and how golden teeth are decades out of use) while deducing the true motives behind the visit.
- Pearl Skinner of the second Provost's Dog book has a variant in magically transmuted pearl teeth.
- The Reynard Cycle: The Mandrossian mercenary Grymbart from Reynard the Fox has a silver tooth.
- In the Sherlock Holmes story "The Stockbroker's Clerk", the clerk in question realises something's going on when he notices that his two employers are actually the same person: they both have exactly the same gold filling.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, The Dandy mercenary Naharis has one gold tooth, as does a character calling himself the Alchemist. Mord, a jailer with totally disgusting hygene, including bad teeth, uses a generous bequest to get several gold teeth.
- Count Carnifex in Blood Fever owns a great amount of silver, which has provided him many artifacts made from the stuff, including a silver tooth which makes him lisp whenever he speaks.
- Hip-hop stars such as Flavor Flav sometimes have gold teeth; all part of the conspicuous consumption schtick.
- Ludacris' "Roll Out (My Business)" makes mention of this trope's use in the hip-hop community:
Now tell me who's your housekeeper, and what you keep in your house?
What about diamonds and gold, is that what you keep in your mouth?
- Goldie (see the The World Is Not Enough example above).
- The guy running the "pay for a dance" club in the video for Pat Benatar's "Love Is a Battlefield" had one.
- "Love Potion Number Nine" is sold by "that gypsy with the gold-capped tooth".
- The animated music video for "What Matters" involves, among other singing drunken hallucinations, a grinning monkey with a golden fang.
- Ork Freebooters in Warhammer 40,000 like to do this as part of their Space Pirate schtick, but special character Kaptain Badrukk takes it to another level. First, he's plated his many tusks with "priceless ur-gold" looted from an Imperial shrine world. Second, he's defeated so many rival captains that he had their teeth melted down into a suit of armor.
- Warhammer has Greasus Goldtooth, Overtyrant of the Ogre Kingdoms. His tribe, the Goldtooth Tribe, tend to replace their teeth with precious metals as a means of showing off their wealth, even going to far as to incorporate the practice into their religious observances. Ogre tribes each possess a special religious monolith, called a Mawtooth, which is carried to great ogre tribal meetings. The teeth are set up in a great ring, representing the mouth of the Ogre deity - the Great Maw. The Goldtooth tribe, naturally, have a solid gold Mawtooth, meaning the god displays this trope too at such feasts!
- A side-quest in Pokémon Red and Blue involved finding a man's gold dentures that were lost in the Safari Zone.
- When Sableye mega-evolves into Mega Sableye, its teeth become gold in addition to its diamond eyes turning red and gaining a giant ruby shield.
- In MadWorld, The Black Baron's presumably gold (the game is in black and white) teeth spell out "DEATHWATCH". By the time this is first noticed, some of them are soon to be punched out of his mouth If you do well enough in the boss battle to spell one half of a Title Drop. In Anarchy Reigns, his teeth now say "Fuck You!".
- Blondebeard in The Curse of Monkey Island. Guybrush has to find a way to steal it of course.
- Similarly, John in Escape From St. Mary's must retrieve a basketball player's gold tooth for a potion.
- In the Hook point-and-click adventure game, Peter has two gold teeth he can have a Depraved Dentist remove so he can use the gold for currency.
- The Cheat from Homestar Runner has a golden tooth and has shown it off on multiple occasions.
- Alanzo from Zoophobia has one.
- Marcus from Hell(p) has one, but due to the comic's style it's only visible in promotional pictures.
- Warren T. Rat from An American Tail has a gold fang.
- In the sequel Fievel Goes West, Cat R. Waul's evil sidekick tarantula Chula has a gold tooth.
- In the Bugs Bunny cartoon The Wacky Wabbit, Bugs and Elmer have a gold tooth each. Elmer, who'd been digging for gold, decides to take Bugs' gold tooth instead after a frustrating series of tricks, the rabbit had pulled on him, but it's revealed after their struggle that Elmer had taken out his own gold tooth and Bugs still had his.
- The Cow Russelers, and later Pecos Bill (and his horse, Widow-maker), in the Disney animated feature Melody Time.
- In VeggieTales, Mr. Lunt, who is some kind of squash, has a gold tooth and invariably plays the bad guy.
- In a Quick Draw McGraw short, a Mexican peasant shows where his gold tooth used to be.
- One of the villains in The Chipmunk Adventure has one, which is constantly accompanied by an Audible Gleam.
- Peep on Jimmy Two-Shoes. He probably stole it.
- Cookie actually gains a crystal tooth at the end of Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire.
- In the World Tour season of Total Drama, Heather gets one after Leshawna punches out one of her real teeth.
- An episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog, had the titular canine forcibly rip out his (only once-seen) gold tooth so he could charitably offer it to a homeless gypsy chihuahua.
- Spongebob Squarepants: When Squidward threatened to call the cops on Mr. Krabs, who had been raiding his and other peoples' houses for food to feed his whale daughter who was undergoing a growth spurt, Mr. Krabs offers to give him his gold tooth to help pay for the damages. Lampshaded by both Squidward and Spongebob who weren't even aware Mr. Krabs had a gold tooth.
- In one episode of The Simpsons, Lenny had a diamond in his tooth, courtesy of the plant's dental plan. It's promptly snatched away from him.
- Old Man McGucket has one in Gravity Falls.
- Chomly from Mixels sports one thanks to his eating patterns culminating in being basically a trash compactor, so he can't chew his food properly, and ended up chipping a tooth. Meanwhile, Lewt has multiple gold and silver ones, as his teeth are made out of his treasure chest coins.
- In Animal Planet's "Weird, True, and Freaky", a man had his black short-haired persian cat undergo a procedure to reinforce its exposed front teeth with gold coating (which are turned backwards instead of inwards like ordinary cats) to protect them from external/environmental hazards.
- Becoming a Discredited Trope in real life; a gold cap and a porcelain/ceramic cap cost the exact same, depending on your dentist.