A smile to disturb airport security...
A character smiles, and it is revealed that his or her teeth are...disturbing.
This trope manifests in myriad ways, from teeth being all askew to being rotten, from being a mouthful of sharp fangs to metallic prostheses, and sometimes even there not being any teeth at all (cute in an infant, disturbing in an adult).
This trope works for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest is that trauma to the teeth is a Primal Fear
for most people. Also, teeth are very much associated with youth, vigor and hygiene, so nasty teeth instantly give an image of sickness, dirtiness and malevolence. Sharp, fanged teeth are an universal identifier of a predator, too, so anyone who sees fangs or a maw full of sharp teeth will instantly feel threatened.
Can be an indicator of an evil character, although good ones aren't disqualified.
Related to More Teeth than the Osmond Family
and Fangs Are Evil
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Anime and Manga
- Arlong and Hody Jones from One Piece. Justified as they're both shark fishmen (a sawshark and a great white shark respectively).
- Viral from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann.
- Grell Sutcliff from Black Butler.
- Gyro Zeppelli in Steel Ball Run is a rare good guy example. His teeth are metallic and have "Go! Go! Zeppelli!" engraved on them. Most of the time his teeth are drawn normally, but when he throws a mischievous smile, the engravings can be seen, which can be a little jarring.
- The titular character of Soul Eater and Giriko both have mouths entirely full of pointed teeth, neither of which is ever commented on.
- Emperor Ganishka from Berserk looks like an Indian Santa Claus with a bear trap for a mouth.
- In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns the leader of the Mutant Gang has filed his teeth to points, and uses them to rip out the throats of the mayor and his aides (off panel).
- For that matter, this trope is also played with regarding The Joker and his teeth - depending on the artist, his teeth can be a nasty yellowed color (implying he probably doesn't brush them), drawn unevenly, drawn longer than or as being more prominent than normal, share space with FAR too many teeth for a normal human being, or a combination of more than one of these.
- Gargamel in The Smurfs mostly appears with only one top tooth in his mouth in most comic book and cartoon show appearances.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- James Bond:
- Jack has one for a moment in Fight Club, when he smiles at a fellow coworker during a meeting and his mouth is a bloody mess.
- Shanghai Knights: During a chase scene, Roy runs into a demure-looking street vendor and starts putting the moves on her... then she smiles, revealing hideous rotting British Teeth. He understandably panics.
- In Coneheads, the titular characters have this until they fix their teeth to blend better amongst humans: not only are their teeth shark-like, when they open their mouth wide, it shows endless rows of them.
- Seth Brundle in David Cronenberg's remake of The Fly slowly loses his teeth as the transformation progresses, making him look more inhuman and threatening.
- The Lord of the Rings:
- When the Mouth of Sauron appears, his helmet covers up every part of his face except for his mouth, which often grins with elongated, pointy teeth covered in black ichor. Eugh.
- Less pronounced, but if his slightly insulting behavior at the beginning of the first movie hasn't suggested to you that Saruman might be a bad guy, his rather filthy teeth (compared to Gandalf's fairly healthy ones) really ought to have.
- They are, in fact, Christopher Lee's natural set, but they are made more pronounced by making his otherwise white beard dark around his mouth.
- Winslow Leach in Phantom of the Paradise had his teeth replaced with sharp stainless steel teeth while he was in prison.
- Pennywise in It can morph his teeth into a fanged maw.
- Arno Blunt, The Dragon from Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code. After getting his teeth shattered early on in the book, he gets a number of interesting - and somewhat disturbing - prostheses.
- In Discworld, Cohen the Barbarian has dentures made out of diamonds. In the Disc, diamond teeth are associated with trolls, so anyone who sees Cohen's is understandably disturbed.
- Apparently Randall Flagg in The Stand. "There were worse things than death. There were teeth." (illustrated rather well with a big lamprey-mouth sketch in the comic.)
- Every time Vlad in Count and Countess is about to take a bite out of someone, he grins. The glimpse of artificially sharpened teeth serves as the victim's first and last warning.
- One of the last mouth close-up shots of the "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Bedrock Anthem" (a parody of Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Give It Away") has dinosaur teeth. A memorable, and hilarious left-field gross-out moment.