The tooth fairy is a popular figure in a lot of people's childhoods. Their job is to collect the teeth the children had lost and replaced it with money (that are usually in a small amount)
Many versions of the Tooth Fairy in media appear as a friendly figure whose trade of teeth for money becomes a pleasant fixture of childhood. However (perhaps because teeth can feature in nasty scenes or as a throwback to less benevolent portrayals of fairies), some versions show up as darker characters more similar to the boogeyman.
While most examples of this trope collect teeth for giving out money, there are some examples of this trope that collect teeth for entirely different reasons.
In other countries, Spanish/Hispanic, French and Italian cultures have a variation where it's a mouse that takes children's teeth and gives them gifts in exchange.
- In one Calvin and Hobbes strip, Calvin plans to fool the Tooth Fairy with a large number of decoy teeth. When Hobbes questions if she'll catch on due to the number, Calvin says a being that prefers an old tooth to a quarter can't be too smart.
- In Rise of the Guardians, Toothiana is a part-hummingbird, part-human tooth fairy who has small fairies as her helpers and is also the Guardian of Memories as the teeth she carries also hold the children's most precious memories.
- Transformers: A young girl mistakes Ironhide, who landed in her home's swimming pool, for the tooth fairy.
- The Tooth Fairy:
- In the original film, Derek Thompson becomes an actual tooth fairy after he told his girlfriend's daughter that the tooth fairy doesn't exist.
- The sequel Tooth Fairy 2 seems to have the same premise as the original except with an all new cast.
- In Toothless, Kirstie Alley, a dentist, becomes a tooth fairy while she was in limbo.
- In Hellboy II: The Golden Army, tooth fairies are a species of The Fair Folk with six limbs and insectoid features. They move in swarms and can devour a human whole—starting with the teeth, since they crave calcium.
- The Fair Folk in Don't be Afraid of the Dark are portrayed as dark, goblin-esq creatures that lurk in the Blackwood mansion with a particular desire to capture and eat the young Sally Hurst, replenishing their ranks by devouring the teeth and bones of children. It is further explained that a pact was made between the fair folk and Pope Sylvester II that human teeth will be willingly given to them in exchange for silver coins. This is shown early on when Sally leaves a tooth that she found earlier under her pillow and finds a coin, though they still try to capture her throughout the rest of the film.
- The children's book Dad, Are You the Tooth Fairy?, by Jason Alexander, concerns a kid asking his dad the titular question. The father answers that fairies used to come and do the job themselves, until increasing problems from humans drove them away. Nowadays, they whisper hints in parents' ears, and it's because of people's remaining belief that they can interact with the world at all.
- Discworld: Tooth fairies have operated as a supernatural franchise of sorts ever since the Bogeyman became the founding member. They carry pliers in case they don't have the right change on hand. More benevolently, their reason for collecting children's teeth is to prevent them from being used in Sympathetic Magic... which makes the tooth vault a location of great interest to a rogue Assassin in Hogfather.
- In The Guardians of Childhood, the story that takes place before Rise of the Guardians, Toothiana, the tooth fairy, is one of the members of the Guardians.
- Discussed in Diary of a Wimpy Kid when Rodrick Heffley tells his younger brother Greg that there's an Arm Fairy and a Leg Fairy as well as the Tooth Fairy.
- Discussed in the Little Princess story "I Want My Tooth" (which is both a book and a TV episode), where the Princess loses a tooth and her parents tell her about the Tooth Fairy.
- In the Junie B. Jones book Toothless Wonder, Junie B. loses a tooth and finally puts it under her pillow on the same night her baby brother gets his first tooth. Junie B., having just learned about recycling in class, concludes jubilantly that she's found out what the Tooth Fairy does with teeth - she gives them to smaller children.
- In The Holiday Handwriting School, penmanship teacher Mrs. Holliday helps Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy with the notes they leave to children. Fairy tends to scribble and write too small, so Mrs. Holliday has her practice with lined paper and gives her a pen with a light so she can see what she's writing.
- One episode of Supernatural had the boys investigating a series of strange occurrences in a small town, including a large man in a dress calling himself the Tooth Fairy who was ripping people's teeth out. Him and the other weird things were created by a young Reality Warper with a very active imagination.
- The comedic role-playing game Santa's Soldiers has the Tooth Fairy Union. They are typically heavy-set, rough-looking guys (think a stereotypical roughneck or longshoreman) in the company uniform of an ill-fitting leotard and tutu. They are ostensibly harvesting the teeth to break down into their component materials in a recycling operation.
- Neopets: The Tooth Faerie is one of the many faeries that inhabits Neopia. She even appears in random events to give neopoints for a lost tooth.
- In Archie's Weird Mysteries, a one-off joke appears that something happened to convince Jughead the Tooth Fairy has it in for him and he is very scared of her.
- The Tooth Fairy of The Fairly OddParents! is the only fairy in Fairy World to do that job, and does not take it lightly when someone else takes up her job. Her future husband Jorgen only did that when he tried to pull out Timmy's loose buck teeth, which was considered worth a diamond, because he wanted to use that as a wedding ring to her.
- In The Powerpuff Girls episode "Moral Decay", after Bubbles gets a dollar from the Tooth Fairy, Buttercup exploits this by knocking out the teeth of bad guys just to get money. By the end of the episode, the bad guys catch up Buttercup's antics and she gets a taster of her own medicine with Bubbles commenting "a tooth for a tooth".
- Also discussed in the Arthur episode "D.W. Tricks the Tooth Fairy", where D.W. tries to fool the Tooth Fairy into thinking she's lost a tooth when she hasn't.
- In an episode of The Animal Shelf, the plushies want to get money from the Tooth Fairy, but Timothy has to give them money instead because they don't have teeth.
- The Tooth Fairy in Teen Titans Go! is portrayed as creepy middle-aged man who is completely obsessed with collecting teeth. Back in his apartment, he keeps piles of teeth laying for him to sleep on, play with, and eat. He also has a very creepy Verbal Tic, da da dada-da.
- On The Ren & Stimpy Show episode "Ren's Toothache", Ren gets a visit from the Nerve Ending Fairy after he loses all his teeth. The Fairy, who looks like Ol' Man Hunger from the pilot episode, is unfortunately out of money, so he leaves Ren a ball of pocket lint instead.