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The Tooth Hurts

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"We are the ones you should be fearing, come in the night and take your teeth away. Now sew up your mouth and go to sleep, 'cause we'll be there soon to break your heart and spite your face."
— "The Ones" by Aesthetic Perfection

Just like with eyes, fingers, throats, toes, and genitals, teeth are an extremely sensitive part of us that we can't bear to see get damaged, whether our own or other people's. Just like with fingers and toes, we have so many of them, giving us so many ways to feel the pain (even worse if a Depraved Dentist is involved). However, someone may pull a tooth for a good reason, such as to relieve pain. Though, this usually isn't a very good idea.

This overlaps with Attack the Mouth if this is done deliberately.

A Sister Trope to Teeth Flying (when teeth are knocked out in a fight) and DIY Dentistry (when one pulls out their own aching tooth out of their own devices).



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  • The Cliche Family (a parody ad made as an in-house demonstration) shows a little boy brushing his teeth all day, day after day, until they're almost completely worn away.
  • It's telling that the slogan for 1-800-DENTIST is "Seriously, it's time."
  • Skittles: "French the Rainbow" features a boy with skittles for teeth, and a girl who eats them out of his face under the guise of kissing him.
  • One anti-smoking commercial features a young man yanking out one of his own teeth with pliers to point out how smoking can damage your gums and teeth.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Oruchuban Ebichu has two notable examples, including when Ebichu gets a cavity from drinking too much syrup and then again with O.L. during "Cavities and Hearts Both Throb".
  • One episode of Kirby: Right Back at Ya! centers around King Dedede and Bun/Tuff getting cavities due to not properly brushing their teeth, and both of them are too scared to go to the local doctor. Dedede eventually orders a properly-skilled dentist Demon Beast to fix his tooth for him, though hearing that it doesn't use anesthetic scares him off again. This was, incidentally, not dubbed into English for quite some time, most likely because many children are scared of the dentist to begin with...
  • Speed Grapher's Depraved Dentist is shown working on one of his patients. The dentist actually has a tooth fetish, working on teeth is erotic for him. And then he starts drilling her teeth. All of them. And he keeps on drilling. He keeps on going until the patient is dead and the entire room is caked in blood.
  • Mushibakinman from Sorieke! Anpanman. His main motivation is give people cavities and toothaches, which he does with his spear.
  • In Part 3 of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, the gang are trapped in the massive maw of The High Priestess stand. Jotaro is trapped between the teeth and the rest are in the mouth. Jotaro gets them all out by using Star Platinum break his way out and frees his friends by shattering the teeth. When Polnareff chechks on the stand user after they escape, he finds that all of her teeth are gone too.
  • In Pokémon, Brock hurts his teeth when he mistakes a plastic cake for a real one and bites into it.
    • "Pokemon Shipwreck" has Meowth breaking his canines trying to eat James's Magikarp. Misty informs the group that the Pokemon is mostly scales and bones, so it wouldn't make a good meal. He gets another moment of this in "Path to the Pokemon League", chomping into the armadillo-like Sandshrew when it's curled up.
  • Tokyo Ghoul: Furuta gets a tooth knocked out during a fight with Kaneki. He rolls around screaming before simply putting it back in.
  • In The Voynich Hotel, the Cold-Blooded Torture session that Elena's Understanding Boyfriend Taizou was subjected to included forcibly pulling out some teeth. Among other things.
  • Holy Corpse Rising: While starving, Nikola asks an old man for food. The man hands him a rock, and Nikola immediately bites it without thinking and hurts his teeth. The old man says you are supposed to suck on it to relieve hunger pains, but admits he sometimes bites his own rock and reveals his teeth have pretty much been destroyed.
  • An episode of Doki Doki Pretty Cure has Makoto visiting the dentist to fix a cavity.
  • In episode 6 of Jewelpet Twinkle, the gang is stranded on a boat in the middle of the ocean and being pursued by a shark. The boat is turned into a stronger metallic one via a magic spell by Sara and Sapphie right as the shark bites it, breaking all its teeth and making it swim away in pain.

    Asian Animation 
  • In the 90th episode Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Joys of Seasons, titled "Candy House Fantasy", the end result of Wolffy and Wolnie eating Paddi's candy house is that, when they go to actually eat Paddi, their teeth crack from the cavities the candy gave them. Needless to say, neither of them are amused.

  • Vivian Stanshall plays with this trope in one of his comic monologues about the bizarre English eccentrics of Rawlinson End. Arbuthnot Rawlinson tries to cure a toothache by tying a string to the affected tooth and the other end to the inner door of an old-fashioned lift. Unfortunately when the lift ascends it doesn't pull the tooth out, so the frustrated Arbuthnot yanks open the outer door and jumps down the shaft. "Few men," Stanshall informs us, "would have had the intelligence to do that."

    Comic Books 
  • In Detective Comics #832, a villain named "Shark" pulls out his own teeth with pliers to plant them as fake evidence of his supposed death by sharks. He mentions that it was very painful, but he's got lots of teeth (three rows!).
  • Superman once fought the villain Barrage, who uses Powered Armor that lets him take Superman on. Once Supes notices Barrage's face is unprotected, he shoots him in the teeth with his heat vision, melting his fillings and letting Supes get close enough to punch him out.
  • In Time and Time Again, the Superman story arc from 1991, Superman gives an attacking dinosaur some dental trauma when he comes to the rescue of the time-trapped villain Chronos and the dinosaur tries to devour Superman with its teeth.
  • Ultimate Marvel
    • In Ultimate Spider-Man, Doctor Octopus pulls out one of Peter's teeth with his tentacle over four panels.
    • Ultimate FF: Back in the Zombieverse, zombie Luke Cage tried to bite Van Damme, whose skin is pure steel. He broke all his teeth by trying that.
  • There's a Marvel Knights special by Garth Ennis where The Punisher ambushes a mobster at the dentist's office and proceeds to pull out his teeth one by one for information. The whole story is drawn from the perspective inside the mobster's mouth.
  • Near the beginning of a Superman and Alien crossover, a Xenomorph breaks its fangs when it tries to bite Superman. Due to lack of sunlight, Superman's powers start to wane as the story goes on and he can't rely on this tactic anymore.
  • In the Judge Dredd story "Dark Justice", Judge Dredd smashes up Judge Death's teeth during a fight. However, since he's a zombie he can't feel pain, so all it does is annoy him.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Finding Nemo: When Nigel the pelican flies into the dentist's window, the noise startles the dentist so much that he accidentally forcefully pulls out his patient's bad tooth, putting the poor man in a lot of pain.
    Dentist: What the—?
    Patient: AAAAAHHH!
    Dentist: Well, uh...that's one way to pull a tooth. (chuckles) Well, good thing I pulled the right one, eh, Prime Minister? (chuckles)

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The most disturbing scene of Bug (done with pliers, no anesthesia at all and lots of blood).
  • In Cast Away, Chuck is having a problem with his tooth in the beginning of the film, which gets worse once he becomes stranded on an island. Eventually, he knocks it out with an ice skate found in one of the packages washed ashore, but passes out from the immense pain.
  • Desolation (2017): At one point, the killer has Abby at his mercy. During this part, the killer take a large pair of pliers and uses them to yank one of her teeth out.
  • Featured constantly in the climax of the martial arts movie, The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter. The Hero, using a Simple Staff as his Weapon of Choice, would shove his weapon into the mouths of opponents, twist them, and pull them out, ripping off the teeth of several faceless mooks in shockingly graphic detail. Ewww...
  • I Spit on Your Grave also features a torture scene using this.
  • In Keep An Eye Out someone eats an oyster in a very literal manner, chewing on the shell. Downplayed as he manages to do that, his mouth only hurting a little.
  • The martial arts flick Magnificent Wanderers have an example overlapping with Money Mauling with the protagonist, Master Chu's intro: flinging two pieces of silver into the mouths of two punks that tried threatening him. Both punks spits out the silver, together with some teeth.
  • In Moon, Sam starts losing his teeth (and vomiting blood) as his short-lived clone body breaks down.
  • In The Pink Panther Strikes Again, the Big Bad (former Chief Inspector Dreyfus) gets a bad toothache and sends for a dentist. Clouseau pretends to be the dentist and performs dental malpractice on Dreyfus.
    Dreyfus: He has pulled the wrong tooth! There's only one man who would pull the wrong tooth. It's Clouseau! Kill him! Kill him!
Naturally, because Clouseau botched administering nitrous oxide, both of them are laughing hysterically all through this.
  • Also used in a The Three Stooges short when Curly gets a toothache.
    • A number of Stooge shorts involve teeth being pulled or smashed out, often painfully. It's often the wrong tooth that is yanked, or even the wrong person getting yanked.
  • Saw
    • In Saw 3D, a character learns that the combination to get through a door has been etched on two of his teeth. He must extract them with a pair of locking pliers in order to proceed.
    • In an early draft of Saw III, some of the chains holding Troy in place for his trap were hooked through his teeth, requiring him to pull them out if he wanted to free himself. One of the movie's posters displayed three uprooted teeth dangling from wires as the Roman number III.
  • In Oldboy (2003), the protagonist tortures one of his tormentors by performing dental surgery with a claw hammer. Another antagonist does the same to intimidate him, but only gets one tooth.
  • In X-Men: First Class, Erik Lehnsherr uses his powers of magnetism to forcibly extract a Nazi sympathist Swiss banker's metal fillings as an interrogation method.
  • The Laurel and Hardy silent Leave 'Em Laughing involves Stanley getting a toothache.
  • In Chronicle, Andrew, slipping into despair-induced madness, uses his telekinetic powers to yank three teeth out of a bully's mouth. For added horror, he later shows off the teeth to his camera, absent-mindedly noting that he was able to get the first one out cleanly, but ended up actually breaking the other two.
  • In Marathon Man, Szell drills into one of Levy's teeth every time he gets an answer he doesn't like.
  • In District 9, Wikus loses two molars about 40 hours after being exposed to the alien fluid that turns him into a prawn. One he loses when chewing food, the other he pulls out himself.
  • One of the many unsettling sex scenes in A Serbian Film involves a woman who has her teeth removed.
  • In Wild Things, Suzie Toller yanks out one of her own teeth with a pair of pliers in order to fake her death. A scene of her doing this is one of the scenes shown over the closing credits (which fill in the details not shown in the movie).
  • This happens a lot in the horror film The Dentist, which is to be expected for a horror flick about a Depraved Dentist in general. Toothpulling and grinding for everyone!
  • In Blade, Deacon Frost rips a vampire elder's fangs out of his mouth with pliers before executing him.
  • In "Pawn Shop Chronicles", Johnny gets his incisors smashed with a claw-hammer.
  • Wade Whitehouse, the main character from the 1997 film Affliction, suffers from a bad toothache throughout the story. He eventually reaches the point where he pulls out the tooth with pliers.
  • World War Z. A CIA agent reveals that North Korea had a Godzilla Threshold method of stopping the Zombie Apocalypse. The entire population had their teeth removed. Can't bite someone with no teeth, right?
  • The Hangover: Stu wakes up and realizes he's missing a tooth but cannot remember how he lost it. Turns out that while drunk, his friends bet him that he wasn't a good enough dentist to remove his own tooth. So he yanked it out with a pair of pliers. Doubles as a Casting Gag since Ed Helms, Stu's actor, is actually missing the same tooth in real life but covers the hole with an implant.
  • Oculus is filled with a number of horrible things happening to people's mouths. After going insane, the mother destroys her own teeth by chewing pottery shards. When she escapes, she comes after the kids as a slack-lipped, blood-drooling, feral monstrosity. Later, the mirror Mind Screws Kaylie into biting into a lightbulb instead of an apple. She pulls several long shards of glass out of her mouth before the mirror drops the illusion. It was an apple after all.
  • The film Europa Europa is about a Jewish boy who survives the Holocaust by joining the Hitler Youth. Yes, it's a true story, by the way. In one scene, Solly learns that he'll have to be fully naked for a physical, which will reveal his circumcised penis and thus expose his Jewish heritage. He immediately fakes a toothache to be taken away and has it pulled; the dentist even notes that the tooth appears quite healthy.
  • In Goodnight Mommy, The children remove one of the mother's teeth with dental floss in an effort to convince her to tell them where she did the real mother.
  • One of the (offscreen) torture methods used by H in the movie Unthinkable is to drill into Yusuf's teeth until his mouth is a bloody mess.
  • In Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Ken Wheatley often rips a tooth out of the mouth of a tranquilized and/or tied up dinosaur to add the tooth to his necklace. He meets his end when he tries pulling this on the Indoraptor. The creature was only pretending to be tranquilized, and kills him when he gets too close.
  • In a Noodle Incident just prior to The Avengers (2012), Natasha get caught by a Russian black market weapons dealer who gloats that the person she thought was the head of the organization was, in fact, just a bag-man. The general says her to tell the guy that he is out; then picks up a pair of industrial pliers and says, "You might have to write it down." Unfortunately for him, Agent Coulson calls looking for her and she promptly beats of the general and four other mooks when she hears her good friend, Clint Barton, is in trouble.
  • Cold Pursuit: While he is interrogating Limbo, Coxman smashes the drug dealer in the mouth with his sawn-off rifle, knocking out several of his teeth in the process.
  • Truth or Dare (2017) includes a dare where two teeth have to be pulled, and of course, there's no available anaesthetic.
  • In Left for Dead, Mobius tortures Goldie by using her own dental pliers to pull out her teeth.
  • In The Kunoichi: Ninja Girl, the sadistic Higetsu plans to pull all the teeth out of his prisoner's mouth—even though he admits it is not his job—because he likes the sound it makes. After Kisaragi's beating leaves him paralysed, his prisoner turns the tables and pulls out his teeth.
  • Gemini Man. A mook holds Dani at gunpoint and informs her that she can either tell him where Henry Brogan is right now, or in five minutes minus her teeth. Dani beats him up, holds him at gunpoint, and informs him that he can either tell her who sent him right now, or in five minutes minus his teeth. Cut to the next scene, and she presents Henry with a handful of extracted teeth when he wonders how she knows the mook was telling the truth.
  • In Boss Level, Roy Pulver pulls out several molars with pliers (and the assistance of some strong alcohol) in order to find which one has a tracker in it.
  • In Hoboken Hollow, Weldon extracts Archie's gold tooth using a pair of multi-grips.
  • Palm Springs: Tala slips and falls running over to the pool when Sarah is yelling at Nyles, breaking three of her front teeth. Her dad finds a dentist to glue them before the wedding (of course, this all resets the next loop).

  • In her book My Most Secret Desire, Julie Doucet recounts a dream in which her teeth were falling out.
  • In Dune, one character forcibly removes a tooth from another character and installs a fake tooth. It's not done for torture purposes, but it's obviously excruciating.
  • In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom has a toothache and his Aunt Polly decides the tooth has to come out. She ties one end of a string to the tooth and the other end to a bedpost, then frightens Tom with a hot coal. When Tom jerks away, the string yanks out the tooth.
  • Stanisław Lem's short story "Highest Possible Level of Development" in The Cyberiad had a drug, Altruzine, that caused tele-empathy. A man with a toothache has the painful tooth ripped out by nearby people who don't want to feel his pain. It takes a few tries before they get the right one.
  • This plays a part in the Dick King-Smith children's book The Stray, since the main character has a fear of dentists but starts developing tooth pains partway through the book.
  • One story by Wilhelm Busch uses this trope. Hilarity Ensues (well, for the reader). You can read it online here (in German).
  • Edgar Allan Poe's short story "Berenice" is about a young man with a tendency to go into trance states where he can't remember his actions afterward and a growing obsession with the teeth of his cousin/fiancée Berenice. Eventually he wakes up from one such state, surrounded by bloody dental implements and holding a box full of Berenice's teeth.
  • In 1984, O'Brien rips out one of Winston's teeth with his hand, to show him that he's "rotting away" and "falling to pieces".
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Pia's teeth are bashed in by Gregor Clegane for speaking out of turn, ruining her pretty face. Even more deliberately, Theon's teeth are destroyed to the point where chewing is nigh impossible because his tormentor didn't like his grin.
  • In Les Misérables, Fantine rips out her own teeth with pliers and sells them to raise money the Thénardiers demanded for Cosette.
  • In The Courtship of Princess Leia, Han has been captured by the Nightsister Gethzerion, who starts torturing him by using the Force the break every bone in his body. Desperately trying to stall for time for a rescue to arrive, he asks if she intends to do that to his teeth. Gethzerion likes the idea and promptly causes two of his molars to explode.
    • Shortly after the aforementioned rescue, Leia gives Han a kiss because she's happy he's still alive. Given the teeth situation, Han's not as happy about this as he would normally be.
  • In the Witcher Saga, Bonhart finally breaks Ciri by showing her a full collection of tools for dentistry and threatening to use them all on her.
  • In Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code, Artemis managed to escape an ambush with a well-placed sonic grenade, which had the side effect of blowing out the teeth of everyone who had their mouths closed when the grenade went off. The next time we see the big bad, he is griping about the increase to his company's dental insurance premiums. His henchman, one of the now-toothless, comes back with a specially-made set of dentures that basicaly turn him into Jaws (the Bond guy, not the fish).
  • In The First Law, Glokta had many of his teeth pulled out by torturers, and often pulls teeth himself, or threatens to.
  • Miranda, in Dr. Franklin's Island, loses all of her teeth transforming into a bird. The roots are reabsorbed and they just come out without blood - the painful aspects of her transformation don't involve this. She tries to seem cool about it to avoid upsetting her friend.
  • In Hogfather, Teatime punches Banjo Lilywhite in the face so hard that Banjo loses a tooth. This is all part of Teatime's plot to sneak into the realm of the Tooth Fairy and use sympathetic magic to make children stop believing in the Hogfather.
  • The Christopher Anvil short story "In the Light of Further data," features a Cloning Body Parts invention that is primarily used by dentists to make new teeth. It's only years later (after twenty-five million people have gotten the procedure) that scientists discover that the procedure eventually causes a second cloned limb or tooth to grow. This forces the dentists to pull out both sets of teeth grown by the procedure, but because the teeth are still perfectly healthy and firmly embedded in the mouth, pulling them is far more difficult and painful than a regular tooth extraction. The hydraulic extraction devices necessary to pull out the healthy teeth are compared to medieval torture devices and often yank out a piece of the jaw along with the tooth. Eventually, it becomes preferable (although not by much) to induce artificial abscesses to multiple teeth at a time to loosen them for the procedure. By the end of the story, dentists are the most hated profession in the world.
  • In Annie Proulx's novel Barkskins, indentured servant Charles Duquet suffers a toothache and his employer Trepagny pulls the tooth. When Duquet gets a second toothache, Trepagny takes it upon himself to remove all Duquet's teeth. Duquet runs away and becomes a trader, but he remains entirely toothless until he can get molds done in China.
  • Doctor Benway in Naked Lunch goes on about a device he created called the "Switchboard", in which a victim has drills attached to his teeth. The drills turn on whenever the victim makes a mistake in responding to a pattern of colored lights and bells. He remarks that half an hour is usually all the time a victim lasts before breaking down.
  • Firstborn: Blue Boy loses one of his incisors near the end of the book. He was caught by humans and rammed himself against his cage doors hard enough to lose a tooth. Losing a tooth can be dangerous for a wolf but luckily the wolves in the book know some things about medicine. Blue Boy is left out of commission for a few days and must eat pre-chewed meat, but he ultimately recovers.
  • In one of the Don Camillo short stories, Communist mayor Peppone has a blinding toothache and goes to the nearest city to have it pulled out, only to hear that now (the late 1940s/early 1950s) dentists can actually cure teeth and avoid pulling them out. Unfortunately for Peppone, the dentist turns out to be a former Fascist whom Peppone had kicked out of the village during WW2, and while he (apparently) does a good job, the scene is pure Nightmare Fuel for Peppone, trapped in his seat with the drill in his mouth.
  • In the second Phoenix Force novel Guerilla Games, a hostage spits in the face of a terrorist leader. He has her strapped to a table and starts removing every second tooth with pliers, alternating so the top and bottom rows don't match up.
  • In the book Wildwood Boys by James Carlos Blake , one dentist done something for three hours with Quantrill. And Quantrill is really drunk and quite afraid to go to that dentist again. Quantrill, who literally never afraid of anything or anyone.
  • At the climax of the horror novel Jago, one of the protagonists deliberately drives a metal pin into his own damaged tooth because intense pain is the only thing they've found that can block the villain's mind control.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Adventures of Superboy, Superboy is attacked by a vampire (since Kryptonians are vulnerable to magic, vampires can harm him). When the vampire tries to bite his neck, he holds up a metal pipe and the vampire bites it instead, screaming in agony.
  • One of the methods of the Sadistic Dentist of Asian Persuasion from Alias.
  • In the third season of The Americans, Elizabeth hurts a tooth while in a fight, and when the pain becomes to much to bear, Phillip ends up pulling it out (they can't go to a regular dentist for fear of capture).
  • In Chuck, as part of a If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten proof of Chuck being a cold-blooded torturer, he is forced to torture Casey. He extracts a tooth to extract information. As it turns out, Casey needed that tooth pulled anyway and thanked Chuck for saving him a trip to the dentist.
  • On It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia When Mac and Charlie attempt to fake their own deaths they decide to leave some teeth behind in a destroyed car so that there's something to identify them by. Mac takes a pair of pliers to Charlie's mouth and the tooth just comes right out, to the surprise of both of them. Charlie then continues to casually pull his own teeth out (with just his fingers) to his own amusement.
  • Justified: In "Long in the Tooth", a former mob accountant turned dentist snaps when confronted by a rude client and yanks out two of his teeth without anesthetic.
  • On Malcolm in the Middle, Hal hurts his tooth while eating some snacks during a poker game, and one of his friends who works as a dentist treats it. However, after getting a huge bill (when he assumed it would be free because the friend said something along the lines of, "I'll take care of it"), Hal eventually rips out his tooth as protest, but passes out. He spends the rest of the episode swallowing his food whole.
  • Married... with Children: Al Bundy's teeth are so disgusting and yellowed even a dentist is appalled at the look of them.
  • A M*A*S*H episode has Charles Winchester suffering from this.
  • In Sabrina the Teenage Witch, the title character was confronted with a security guard while going to a rock-concert with a few of her friends, when the guard couldn't let them in, Sabrina casts a spell which causes his teeth to fall out, the guard notices it and runs off, he is never mentioned again, which also makes him a Victimized Bystander.
  • Sanford and Son: Fred Sanford]] once went to great pains to avoid the dentist when troubled with a bad tooth, even specifically requesting a black dentist to treat it.
  • Happened to Adam Carter of Spooks during a mission in the former Yugoslavia before the start of the series. He was captured by a Serbian paramilitary and tortured with a dental drill.
  • Strangers From Hell: Moon-jo usually tears out his victims' teeth without anaesthetic before killing them.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Malleus Maleficarum", a witch uses magic to make a woman's teeth fall out. An episode earlier, Dean narrowly escaped having a tooth pulled out as part of a pagan ritual. Another episode had the shapeshifter shed his skin and loose teeth in the process while new ones grew in.
  • One of the regular sketches on Turkey TV was "Dental Nightmares", featuring a Depraved Dentist willing to pull all of a patient's teeth out in response to the smallest dental problem. Some of these he even causes.
  • Person of Interest. CIA hitman John Reese is sent to kill a supposed traitor, but finds out he's only being killed because You Know Too Much. Reese gives him a ticket to Canada and says he will fake his death, then takes out some pliers.
    Reese: One more thing. Boss is gonna need proof of death. Couple of molars should do it. Care to do the honors?
  • On My Name Is Earl, it's mentioned that at the time of his Accidental Marriage to Joy, Earl was 3 weeks into a relationship with a woman named Jessie. Since he felt guilty, he avoided Jessie for days, and during this time, Joy found the Metallica tickets that Jessie had gotten for her and Earl's 3-week anniversary, assuming that Earl had purchased them for his and Joy's honeymoon. Since Earl figured that what was done was done, he went to the concert with Joy, and met up with Jessie again at the Crab Shack afterwards. Jessie wondered what was going on, and Joy showed her their wedding rings. Jessie angrily questions, "You married this...whore?" and Joy punches out her two front teeth. Six years later, Joy gets a bounty on her head for failing to appear in traffic court following a Noodle Incident wherein her car got stuck in reverse. Jessie becomes a bounty hunter in order to exact revenge on Joy for a) stealing her boyfriend and b) knocking out her two front teeth. During their Cat Fight, it's shown that while Jessie learned to fight, she didn't learn to fight dirty the way Joy did, and Joy knocks out Jessie's gold fake teeth, which she then tells Earl to melt down for her bail money.
  • In Channel Zero: Candle Cove, children who are affected by Candle Cove tend to lose teeth which seem to be absorbed by the Tooth Child. It's later revealed that they remove the teeth themselves as a "toll" for "entering Candle Cove".
    • In Episode 5, Mike starts growing an extra tooth out of his gums, which was the only way to tell him and his dead twin Eddie apart, as a prelude to Eddie's spirit pulling Grand Theft Me on him. To try and stop this, he rips it out with pliers.
  • In Jessica Jones (2015) episode 5, Jessica punches Kilgrave in the face while he's knocked out by the anesthetic. When Kilgrave wakes up, he feels around the bruise, then pulls out a broken tooth. With his bare hands. And then he smiles.
  • In Parks and Recreation, certified Rated M for Manly Ron Swanson nonchalantly yanks out a sore tooth with pliers in the middle of a meeting, prompting horrified screams from onlookers.
    Ron: [Aside Comment] The dentist pulled the tooth out yesterday, but it's always a good idea to demonstrate to your coworkers that you are capable of withstanding a tremendous amount of pain. Plus, it's always fun to see Tom faint. [Giggles]
  • Season 4 of Gotham features a couple of appearances by a Torture Technician called "the Dentist" for his speciality of drilling into people's teeth to inflict the maximum amount of pain possible.
  • In the end of the season four finale of NCIS: Los Angeles is probably the most horrifying torture scene in the history of Live Action TV. Deeks is tortured via dentist drill while Sam, who just endured Electric Torture to the point that he can barely speak, can only look on as he screams in agony.
  • In NCIS episode "The Admiral's Daughter" the Victim of the Week is said to have "suffered extreme periodontal trauma reminiscient of the movie Marathon Man." Near the end, they rescue a man that has blood coming out of his mouth and on the area surrounding it, implying he got the same treatment.
  • An episode of Ultraman Taro titled "The Monster's Cavity Hurts!" dealt with a Sea Monster named Sheltar going on a rampage from an agonizing toothache caused by ZAT firing a missile that gets stuck in its teeth. ZAT, being ZAT, make things worse when they try to remove the problem tooth, only to pull out the wrong one.
  • In The Noddy Shop episode "The Tooth Fairy", one of Johnny Crawfish's lines is "Tell me, are cavities allowed?", hinting that he could have a few.

  • The subject of "The Interfaith Dental Clinic" story Townes Van Zandt tells on the album Together at the Bluebird Cafe.
  • The Ones by Aesthetic Perfection is about a man haunted by teeth stealing monsters.

    Music Videos 
  • The video of Green Day's "Geek Stink Breath" has scenes of a very gruesome dental surgery.

     Myth and Legend 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In a ladder match between Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho, Jericho promised to win, Michaels promised to permanently disfigure Jericho. Jericho did win but Michaels broke one of Jericho's teeth, so they both fulfilled their promises.
  • Attempted by Oedo~tai in World Wonder Ring STARDOM as Hana Kimura restrained Christi Jaynes in the ring ropes and forced a scarf in her mouth. Kimura then held Jaynes's jaw shut while Kris Wolf pulled on the scarf, but tooth proved tougher than cloth and the scarf broke.

  • Our Miss Brooks: In "Mr. Conklin is Honored", Conklin loses several teeth when repeatedly hit on the head. The hits on the head weren't maliciously intended, but meant to cure a case of Easy Amnesia he had foolishly faked earlier in the episode.

  • In the Book of Proverbs from The Bible, it says that unfaithfulness in a friend in a time of need is like a broken tooth and a foot out of joint.
  • According to Christian tradition, Saint Apollonia was a virgin martyr who was tortured by having all her teeth forcibly pulled out or shattered. For this reason, she is regarded as the patroness of dentistry.

  • The Play-Doh Dr. Drill and Fill playset lets the kids fill, drill or extract their plastic patient's teeth.

    Video Games 
  • Grand Theft Auto V: One mission has Trevor engaged in Cold-Blooded Torture of a suspected terrorist, one of the possible implements the player can choose is a set of pliers. The tooth gets ripped out by waggling the analog stick. In fact, the mission parameter for selecting and using the pliers in this way as part of the mission is given the same name as this trope.
  • Peacock's backstory in Skullgirls involves, among other gruesome things, her having all her teeth pulled by slave-traders. She has a replacement set of chompers in the form of a mini-bear trap now, though.
  • Surgeon Simulator 2013: The tooth replacement surgery consists of the player drilling or smashing out the patient's teeth, then awkwardly jamming in new ones at incorrect angles. Among possible tools are a bone saw and a hammer.
  • The Soldier is on the receiving end of this in the Team Fortress 2 comics, where holes are drilled into his teeth by the Team Fortress Classic Pyro, for no other reason than simple sadism. After he's freed, his hand gets broken, and he cheerfully remarks:
    The Soldier: Normally that is excruciating. Luckily all my body's pain receptors are busy in my mouth right now.
  • Until Dawn has Matt suffer from this in one of his potential death scenes. Specifically, if he attempts to save Emily from the fire tower. He fails and is forced to jump to safety at the last second, which leads to him being dragged off by a Wendigo and impaled on a hook which knocks out one of his teeth.
  • The Octomaw from Splatoon has to have its teeth shot out, both to keep the player from being splatted and to open it up to assault.
  • If a Heat move is performed with the pliers in some of the Yakuza games, the player character will yank out the poor Mook's tooth with it. But only if the Mook isn't trying to attack the player character. If they are, they have a fingernail yanked out instead.
  • This is alluded to in Afterlife (1996), where one of the punishment buildings for generic sin is called "Tooth or Dare".
    Description: Dentists, dentists, dentists!
  • In the Atari 2600 game Plaque Attack, you're a tube of toothpaste trying to shoot down various foodstuffs before they reach your teeth, which, if they do, will rot them into oblivion if not shot down fast enough.
  • In Fallen London, during Seeking Mr. Eaten's Name you can choose to have your own teeth pulled out by a dentist. You then eat them. Your utterly deranged character takes delight in this, likening it to having a maw in their maw so they can eat and eat and eat and eat and eat...
  • In Marco and the Galaxy Dragon, Arco develops a cavity after she and Marco save the Earth from a Nudo, forcing them to seek out a dentist. To Arco’s dismay, the only dentist who can do the job is Pandagraph.
  • Discover My Body: Between the two documented phases, the subject asks that his wallet is inserted into his mouth to bite down on. After the transformation, he calmly notes that he bit down so hard that quite a few of his teeth had to be spit out.

  • In Girl Genius Andronicus Valois ripped out Jenka's "luffly fangs." She's still pissed about it hundreds of years later.
  • Homestuck has this happen a few times. One of the more notable examples is where Sollux get most of his fangs knocked out when he and Karkat fall down some stairs (while Sollux is unconscious and Karkat is dragging him to flee from a murderous juggalo). Surprisingly, Sollux revels in the change when he wakes up, because it means he doesn't have to lisp anymore.
  • The witch Ivory Stalker from The Sword Interval uses teeth to power her (tooth-themed) spells. Specifically, her own teeth. That she rips out of her mouth using pliers. Usually in the middle of fights. Fortunately for her (but not for the readers), she has plenty to spare.

    Web Original 
  • In his review for A Simple Wish, The Nostalgia Critic was nice enough to show his Eternally Pearly-White Teeth being shattered at Mara Wilson's cutesy child acting.
  • Happy Tree Friends examples:
    • In "Nuttin' but the Tooth", Nutty goes to a rather unexperienced dentist to get rid of his rotten tooth. Said dentist tries the old-fashioned method of tying one end of a string to the tooth and the other to a doorknob. This procedure ends with Nutty's whole lower jaw being ripped off, with the rotten one being one of the few teeth not to fall out.
    • In "Snow Place To Go", Toothy chips one of his buckteeth trying to open a can of beans. Later on, he's so hungry he tries eating snow, with predictable results.
    • They made an entire episode dedicated to this called "An Inconvenient Tooth"
  • The Creepypasta "I Answered That Craigslist Ad" is about a guy hired to pull all of a guys teeth. Part two has him replace all the teeth he pulled last time with metal spikes, and cut off Buddy's nose and ears too. Apparently, his client wants to be a human gecko lizard.

    Western Animation 
  • King: In "Monsteritis", monster Loopy bites down on Vernon, and just shatters his own teeth.
  • This plays a part in a Rugrats episode, where Angelica is trying to pull out one of Chuckie's teeth for tooth fairy money.
  • In Rocko's Modern Life's episode "Jet Scream", Rocko goes through a metal detector at a local airport and it buzzes every time he walks through no matter what he took out of his pockets. When he finally strips down to his underwear to set aside his shirt and shoes, the metal detector still buzzes and Rocko walks up to the security guard, letting him know he has nothing else to set aside. The security guard then pulls out pliers, and Rocko wears a nervous expression on his face. Cue discretion shot and the sound of Rocko screaming in pain as a tooth is heard being yanked out.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Bubble Boys", during Dr. Doofenshmirtz's attempt at country-western singing:
    Audience Member: This stinks so bad I wanna break somethin'!
    (He grinds his teeth together and they shatter with the sound of glass breaking.)
    Audience Member: ... Yeah, that really wasn't worth it.
  • In Dexter's Laboratory, one episode of the Justice Friends has them trying to avoid the dentist from fear of this. It's subverted: Krunk, the Hulk Captain Ersatz, only got a tortilla chip in his tooth — which just needed a simple, painless extraction — compared to all the idiotic stuff Major Glory tries to do to his tooth. The Aesop: Go to the dentist, or it'll hurt MORE (which is actually a pretty good Aesop).
    Valhallen: Right, Major Glory?
    Major Glory: (getting his teeth cleaned with a scrapper) RI-I-I-G-H-I-I-I-TTT!!
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "The Cutie Pox", Apple Bloom trips over a root and chips a tooth. Fortunately, Zecora has the skill to prepare a dentistry potion.
    • In "Mare in the Moon", Nightmare Moon did not have fangs. In an animatic clip showing a flashback to when she first became Nightmare Moon, she does.
    • In "The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone", Pinkie Pie breaks her teeth trying to eat Gilda's poorly made scones. Since Pinkie runs on Toon Physics, she's fine in the next scene.
    • In "A Royal Problem", Luna suffers from the classic "teeth falling out" nightmare, brought on by her failure to smile properly for the camera at a school fundraiser earlier that same day.
  • In Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales, Chumley got rather destructive in his pain-induced rage. Yet even after encouragement from the ever-informative Mr. Whoopie, he was hardly willing to see a dentist.
  • In the Muppet Babies (1984) episode, "Dental Hijinks", Fozzie's tooth pain got him sent to the dentist. The rest of the gang shared his fear and felt for him.
  • Older Than Television example: In Bosko, the Talk-Ink Kid Bosko's dog Bruno ate too many brownies. The visual metaphor didn't help matters.
  • An extra gruesome episode of The Ren & Stimpy Show showed why it pays to brush teeth.
    • During Stimpy's transformation in "I Was a Teenage Stimpy", his baby teeth fall out, and ugly "adult" teeth grow out of the tooth holes.
  • Many MGM and Warner Bros. cartoons show a hungry predator unwittingly biting down on something hard they think is food or prey and smashing out all their teeth.
  • In The Smurfs episode "The Moor's Baby", one of Lord Balthazar's goons has a tooth that's hurting. Also Baby Smurf and the titular moor's baby are both going through teething pains as they are about to have their first tooth.
  • The Gravity Falls episode "Dreamscaperers" has Bill Cipher, the pyramid guy summoned by Gideon, tear out the teeth of a deer and hand them to him. He later puts them back. Thankfully, the deer didn't feel a thing since he froze time.
  • The Dan Vs. episode "Dan Vs. The Telemarketer" has Dan being tormented by the man who stole his identity in "Dan Vs. Dan" (a friendlier, Bizarro version of Dan), eventually leading to him transmitting messages in his head through a special dental filling. Elise eventually has to yank it out, commenting that Dan's teeth are in such bad shape that they're like eggshells.
  • On Bob's Burgers, Louise is discovered to have a cavity that causes her tremendous pain, forcing her to run away to her aunt Gail's house due to her crippling fear of the dentist.
  • King Pig gets a rotten tooth in the Angry Birds Toons episode "Tooth Royal", forcing the Minion Pigs to try all the means of yanking it out. When those don't work, they force him to get beat up by the Birds, who do indeed knock it out... along with the rest of his teeth.
  • Kissyfur: Gus has a toothache one day and needs to remove a tooth to stop the pain.
  • American Dad!: In "All About Steve", Stan grinds his teeth whenever he's stressed. He eventually breaks his teeth when he grinds too hard, and he is forced to wear braces.
  • Family Guy
    • In "Go Stewie Go", Meg rips out her own tooth and throws it at Lois.
    • In "Brian the Closer", Peter's attempts to get Brian to stop chewing on a rope end with Brian being sent flying into a fire hydrant and breaking his teeth. He ends up getting a dental operation for a new set of teeth... and he gets those teeth knocked out by Quagmire at the end.
    Brian: MY TEETH!!!
    Peter (Cringing after seeing Brian's "flacid" face): Oh, man! I'm really sorry about your mouth, Brian!
    Brian: Damn it, Peter! Why are you thinking? It has to be the stupidest thing you've ever done!
    • Peter and Homer simultaneously punch each other while their teeth fly in "The Simpsons Guy"
  • The Huckleberry Hound Show episode "Pet Vet" had Huck as a veterinarian attempting to cure a lion of a toothache. Needless to say, it didn't go so well.
  • In The Flintstones, Barney has a severe aching tooth that needs to be extracted. Fred wants to extract the tooth himself to save money. When that fails, he takes Barney to a veterinarian for less charge. It goes wrong when Barney inhaled too much gas causing him to float.
  • In the Star vs. the Forces of Evil episode "Crystal Clear", Star hurts her teeth when she tries to eat a crystallized donut.
  • The Bump in the Night episode "Nothing but the Tooth" had Mr. Bumpy suffer a toothache and end up having all of his teeth come out and go on a feeding frenzy when he and Squishington attempted to remove the painful tooth. In the end, Bumpy used toothpaste and a toothbrush to tame his chompers and get them back in his mouth.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (2016) episode "Tooth or Consequences" has Blossom spending the episode dealing with a toothache, and she does all she can to avoid the dentist chair. It simply gets worse for her as she morphs into a distaff Quasimodo.
  • Oh Yeah! Cartoons used this trope in the Jamal the Funny Frog short "Dentist", where Jamal got a toothache from eating candy and cake for breakfast. He initially dreads going to the dentist, but the dentist is able to extract his decayed tooth harmlessly and subsequently repair the tooth and put it back into Jamal's mouth when he can't bear to part with it.
  • Kaeloo: Stumpy spends the entirety of Episode 131 with a toothache. At the end, Serguei punches him, sending him flying, and he crashes into a tree, making his front teeth fall out.
  • In ‘’Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show’’ when Ed breaks a peanut open using himself as a nutcracker which contains Eddy’s brother’s car key, he cracks several of his teeth in the process.
  • In the "Sonic Says" segment at the end of the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode, "Sonic is Running", Tails gets a cavity as a result of not brushing his teeth. Sonic advises the viewers to brush and floss their teeth after every meal and visit the dentist regularly.

    Real Life 
  • Pulling a tooth before it's completely loose hurts, as hundreds of screaming children attest.
    • Nowadays, injecting the anesthetic is the hurty part. Then half your jaw feels "jammed" and you almost don't feel the teeth being pulled. But if your roots are thick, or if your teeth are lodged in there pretty good, and especially if they're not oriented straight up-and-down, it can hurt even if your jaw is pumped full of anesthetic.
    • This is the main reason many people opt to be put under during the actual surgery. However, even afterwards there is pain in the area (usually, pain pills are prescribed), sometimes accompanied by bruised cheeks, sores around the corners of the mouth, or a particularly nasty condition called dry-socket.note 
  • Tooth cavities, or worse, tooth abscesses.
  • Chipping a tooth, if you lose enough it'll expose the nerve causing all kinds of pain.
  • Considerably less severe than the other cases presented, but newly-applied braces can leave one with the entire mouth feeling sore until the teeth get used to the unrelenting tension.
    • Not to mention bleeding and possible inability to eat solid food till the soreness goes away.
    • And in many cases, the soreness will come back every time you get the braces tightened, until you've had them on long enough and had them adjusted enough times that your mouth becomes used to the routine.
    • There's also the problem with cuts or sores in your mouth, as braces can be unexpectedly sharp. You can get a type of wax to put on the sharp ends and tracks until they smooth off.
  • Sudden heat or cold can be painful, especially if your teeth are more sensitive.
  • And it only gets worse in the history books! Imagine being the last guy to get a tooth pulled before the invention of novocaine.
  • Pulling the pin from a grenade with your teeth is never a good idea in real life. It's a great way to break or even yank a tooth out.
  • A famous hoax that made it into the news consisted of a jilted dentist pulling all her ex-boyfriend's teeth as revenge.
  • A German dentist, in an effort to save time, gave his patient fourteen root canals in one appointment. She later sued because of the excruciating pain she suffered afterward, since he used cognac rather than Novocain or laughing gas.
  • Dying nerves. Imagine all the pain of an agitated tooth and then multiply it by triple, and then having it last all day until you manage to get to a dentist so it gets cleaned out... or down enough Advil to kill a horse.
  • Actually averted now with root canals: modern medicine has made it so it's more tedious than anything else. Of course, your jaw probably will be sore after holding it open for so long however.
  • Among a hundred other brutal but life-saving treatments, Dominique Larrey once had to break the front teeth of a grenadier whose jaw was locked by tetanus in order to feed him with a rubber tube.
  • A common French expression for Blatant Lies dates from the heroic age of dentistry: "mentir comme un arracheur de dents" (lie like a tooth-ripper).
  • Happened to Denise Nickerson who played the gum-chewer Violet in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Because sugar-free gum in the 1970s was unsuitable for blowing bubbles, she had to chew the regular version in every scene. After filming had completed, she wound up with 13 cavities.
  • About long as people throughout history has been recording accounts of their dreams, it has been noted that people who are experiencing a period of time where they are feeling intense stress or anxiety (usually when faced with some radical change or new phase in their life) has a much higher tendency to dream of their teeth decaying or falling out.
  • Jim Carrey lost a chunk of his front tooth in a childhood biking accident. He usually wears a cap over it, but he takes it off for his role as Lloyd Christmas because it fit the character so perfectly.
  • A frequent injury in boxing, for obvious reasons. Also in hockey, where just about every NHL player has a few teeth missing.
  • Many masochists meals aren't dubious because of taste or origin, but because they are so damnably hard trying to chew (or worse, bite) them will only end in suffering. Hardtack was known for costing sailors their teeth, and in one example that's lasted into the modern age Chicharrones are what keeps dentists in South America (especially Colombia) rich.
  • The documentary Class Action Park recalls that during testing of said park's most infamous ride, a looping water slide, at a certain point every subject started appearing with lacerations. They went to the loop, and discovered that the cause was dislodged teeth of previous riders that got stuck to the floor!


Video Example(s):


Dr. Sherman yanks out tooth

When Nigel the pelican slams into the window, the noise startles the dentist so much that he accidentally forcefully pulls out his patient's bad tooth, putting the poor guy in extreme pain.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheToothHurts

Media sources:

Main / TheToothHurts