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Scary Teeth

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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, Tombstone Teeth, and Fangs Are Evil.


    open/close all folders 

  • In one of ABC's Saturday Morning Bod Squad PSAs, a character called the Yuck Mouth shows the result of not taking care of your teeth, as he has only a few teeth left in his mouth, and one of them is severely rotted.

    Anime and Manga 
One Piece:
  • Arlong and Hody Jones. Justified as they're both shark fishmen (a sawshark and a great white shark respectively).
  • Anyone can have these whenever they're angry or irritated at something (usually Luffy). Mostly Played for Laughs.
  • Losing his mask reveals that Jack the Drought has these, due to his fishman heritage.
  • The half-mermaid Charlotte Praliné also has these, and it's justified as her father is said to have been a hammerhead shark merman.
  • Charlotte Katakuri has a mouth full of fangs under his scarf. It's unclear if it's hereditary (many of his siblings are Half Human Hybrids), but he hides it because of past mockery. His two triplet brothers, Daifuku and Oven, don't have those though.
  • Viral from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is a shark-type Beastman with feline genetics, and has the choppers to match.
  • Naruto's Kisame Hoshigaki has pointed teeth, among other shark-like characteristics.
  • 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.
  • Rin Matsuoka from Free! has shark teeth for some reason (as a child he only had Cute Little Fangs). It's because his representative animal in the series is a shark, but in-universe no explanation is given.
  • Moral from Hamatora has shark-like teeth.
  • Nanana from Bleach has regular-shaped teeth, but they're colored black and gold (in a checkered pattern).
  • Kubera: Despite looking almost entirely human, Yuta actually has rows on rows of teeth in his mouth. We get an even clearer picture when we see Yuta hide Leez in his sura-form mouth to protect her from a hail of energy blasts. After their attacker leaves, Yuta anxiously wants Leez to come out but she's remarkably casual about getting stuffed into a mouth full of sharp, pointed teeth. She even cuts herself while climbing out but manages to keep her reaction to mild surprise/interest, going to show how hard she's trying to show she trusts her friend.
  • Yoichi Hiruma from Eyeshield 21 has these, and there's no in-universe explanation for them.
  • Hawk from Goemon Ishikawa's Spray of Blood has large metal teeth that would make Jaws proud. He rarely smiles, but when he does the effect is very intimidating.
    • Chlo, an assassin from Lupin III Part 5, which is part of the same franchise, has filed teeth that can chew through metal. She even manages to catch Goemon's sword in her mouth.
  • Hime Mishiro from Mishiro-san to Yamada-kun has a mouth full of sharp teeth. They aren't pointed out too often, but it's revealed that a fair number of people find them unattractive (alongside her eyes, which combined with her teeth make her look a bit shark-like), and it upsets her when she hears people say it, though her friends don't think so. It's eventually revealed she inherited them from her mother. Presumably, people can just look like that naturally in this universe.

  • In Batman: The Dark Knight Returns the leader of the Mutant gang has filed his teeth to points. He nearly bites a chunk out of Batman's shoulder during their first fight, and later uses them to rip out the mayor's throat.
  • 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.
  • Spider-Man villain Tombstone has pointed teeth, because he purposely filed them that way to make himself look scary.
    • The Power Man and Iron Fist series demonstrates in a flashback that he did this with other criminals as a part of conception for The Fang Gang, following the example of a piranha like mutate on their team.
  • Robin Series: Robin and Spoiler fight a gangster with uneven teeth one of which he's incredibly proud of which grew bizarrely long and which he had filed to a point to look like a tusk. Robin kicks it right out of his mouth.

     Fan Works 
  • Subverted in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World by Mattagandas Bullslayer. He's got creepy pointed teeth that make the four uncomfortable, but they also feel he's being straight with them. He ultimately does turn out to be one of the few reasonably honest people they meet—not that it matters, since circumstances preclude their working with him.

    Films — Animated 
  • Scar, at least once, in The Lion King. The hyenas too. "Yes our teeth and ambitions are bared!"
  • In Beauty and the Beast
    • While the servants instruct Beast on making a good impression for Belle, Mrs. Potts suggests that he smile. The Beast tries to, but we see The Unsmile showing More Teeth than the Osmond Family.
    • While Maurice is describing the Beast to the villagers, one of them asks "With a long, ugly snout?" and puts a glass mug over his mouth, which magnifies his crooked teeth.
  • Hades in Hercules has a lot of sharp teeth.

    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 The Fly (1986) 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.
    • Orcs have sharp, jagged teeth, made more horrifying by their lips being constantly pulled back, giving them a snarling expression.
  • Winslow Leach in Phantom of the Paradise had his teeth replaced with sharp stainless steel teeth while he was in prison.
  • The DC Extended Universe version of the Joker has unnerving metallic prostheses for teeth and we get to see them quite a lot thanks to a nigh permanent Slasher Smile.
    • Killer Croc has jagged, pointy crocodile teeth.
  • In Sleepy Hollow, the Hessian who would become the Headless Horseman has a mouthful of almost shark-like teeth, making an already vicious killer even more menacing.

  • Pennywise in It can morph his teeth into a fanged maw.
    • Also in IT, Henry Bowers has "rotting, Maine back-woods teeth," described like the headstones in a graveyard gone to disrepair.
  • Artemis Fowl
    • Mulch Diggums, like all dwarves in the setting, has some very large and intimidating teeth, described as looking like enamel tombstones. At one point, he intimidates a human mobster by giving him a good look at them.
    • Arno Blunt, The Dragon from 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.
  • Red Dragon : The Tooth Fairy, for obvious reasons. Francis Dolarhyde likes to bite his victims, using a plate from his dead grandmother, who had terrible snaggle-teeth.
  • And I Darken 's Lada (a female imagining of Vlad the Impaler) has small, sharp teeth that she uses in her fighting.
    • another, different set of scary teeth, in the sequel Now I Rise, are those of Princess Vasilisa, Lada's mother: her teeth are eerily shattered from years of abuse at the hands of Lada's father.
  • The Kahlirash'im are a religious sect that worships the eponymous destroyer god, The Rifter. They are known to file their teeth into points.
  • Elphaba from Wicked was born with a row of sharp teeth. She however is otherwise a subversion because she wasn't any crueler than any other baby. Elphaba's teeth and green skin are a side-effect of a potion given to her mother used to knock out her by Elphaba's biological father. As an adult, Elphaba's teeth are normal.


    Music Videos 
  • One of the last mouth close-up shots of the "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Bedrock Anthem" (a parody of Music/ Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Give It Away") has dinosaur teeth. A memorable, and hilarious left-field gross-out moment. Al also has a scary set of teeth in the latter end of the video for "I Love Rocky Road".
  • The Guy of Disturbed has this and Glowing Eyes of Doom as his trademark appearance.

    Video Games 
  • All the bosses in Bendy in Nightmare Run have jagged cartoon teeth and are constantly frowning. Titular protagonist Bendy - a demon - not so much.
  • Killer Instinct has Hisako, the spirit of a child who died protecting her village hundreds of years ago. She can open her mouth to inhuman lengths, but doing so also reveals a bunch of monstrous teeth in said mouth.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, the Bosmer within their homeland of Valenwood are bound by the Green Pact, a deal their ancestors struck with the forest's patron deity promising to never harm the plant life within. As a result, they live on an almost exclusively carnivorous diet, including other sentient races under certain circumstances. As a result, some of the "less civilized" Bosmer who still live deep within the forests have been known to sharpen their teeth into points.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the Zora all have sharp, carnivorous teeth, but they're generally nice and unintimidating people, with Prince Sidon's teeth in particular being very sharp and shark-like but veering more toward Cute Little Fangs thanks to his Nice Guy personality and friendly Twinkle Smile. It's played more straight with the elderly royal adviser Muzu, whose teeth are more spaced out due to age in a way that gives them an appearance similar to an angler fish's, and who starts off with a brusque personality and an intense prejudice against Hylians.
  • Persona 5 provides at least two examples.
    • Official artwork of Ryuji in his Skull costume tend to portray him with sharp, shark-like teeth, which is most noticeable in his All-Out Attack portrait.
    • It's hard to see in-game, but the Traitor's true Persona, Loki has a set of pointed red teeth.
  • The Aumaua of Pillars of Eternity are known for their unusual skin tones, towering physique, and the row of shark teeth they have. The portrait for one companion, Kana Rua, display these prominently, and a few characters comment they're glad someone with such intimidating teeth and size is a Gentle Giant and Wide-Eyed Idealist.
  • Kazuichi Soda from Super Danganronpa 2 has these. They might be natural, or he might have filed them himself in order to look intimidating.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • DSBT InsaniT: Ice Beasts have teeth that resemble icicles.
    • Killer Monster's jagged teeth give him a constant Slasher Smile.

    Western Animation 
  • Ren in Ren & Stimpy. Especially in "Ren's Toothache", where he refuses to brush his teeth and they eventually rot and fall off.
  • In both Time Squad and Hudson Hawk, this is why Leonardo da Vinci ends up painting the Mona Lisa with a closed-mouth smile.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Nightmare Moon has fangs...which tend to look slightly creepy on a horse.
  • The Terras in Motorcity.
  • The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow gives us a nice close-up view of the few teeth that are left in Gargamel's mouth.
  • The Joker, as mentioned above, got these in The Batman, which gave him a gaping mouthful of bright yellow teeth with jigsaw-like protrusions and holes, causing them to slot together in a highly unnatural fashion.
    • The same series also gives these to Oswald Cobblepot, the Penguin, with a frankly shark-like array of jagged, pointed fangs.
  • The unsuccessful pilot for the Wacky Races revival series Wacky Races Forever depicts the villains, Dick Dastardly and a new character called Viceroy, as having ugly and neglected-looking teeth.
  • On Dexter's Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls, some characters will briefly have sharp teeth if they're really angry or malicious.

    Real Life 
  • Domestic dogs, with their cute wet noses and wagging tails, also have incisors and sharp, outward-pointing canine teeth that can really scare people, especially those who fear dogs, when they snarl or even just grimace or grin. Even "toy" breeds such as Chihuahuas have this. This is rarely used in fiction except with Hellhounds and Mr Muffykins.

Alternative Title(s): Nasty Teeth


Example of: