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A contract as old as the invention of processed sugar.

Queen: "You put the tooth under your pillow."
King: "And the fairy leaves a little something behind."
Little Princess, "I Want My Tooth"
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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.

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Compare Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and The Sandman, similar mythological figures who are often mentioned in the same breath.

Sub-Trope to Our Fairies Are Different.


Examples:

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    Comic Strips 
  • 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.
  • Parodied in one The Far Side strip, where a kid receives a whole quarter from the Nose Fairy.
    • Another strip has a boy named Billy receiving a note from the Tooth Fairy saying that next time, she intends on bringing the pliers.
      Beware Billy! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    Films — Animation 
  • One of the bonus features for Finding Nemo has facts about different underwater species and for the one about sharks losing teeth, Mr. Ray says that it "makes a lot of work for the underwater tooth fairy".
  • 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. The tooth mouse also makes an appearance, although her fairy helpers need to be told that the mouse is one of them ("European branch") and isn't just stealing the teeth.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Fair Folk in Don't be Afraid of the Dark are portrayed as dark, goblin-esque 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Transformers: A young girl mistakes Ironhide, who landed in her home's swimming pool, for the tooth fairy.
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    Literature 
  • 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 (namely technology) drove them away. Nowadays, they whisper hints in parents' ears telepathically, and it's because of people's remaining belief that they can interact with the world at all.
  • 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.
  • In Discworld, the Tooth Fairy features prominently in Hogfather. Nowadays it's employed humans who collect the teeth, carrying pliers in case they don't have the right change on hand. The original, however, lives in a Pocket Dimension that looks like a child's drawing brought to life. We also learn "her" origin and motive for the job: the Tooth Fairy was the first boogeyman, who grew enamored with humans and protects the teeth from being used for Sympathetic Magic.
  • One of the Franklin books involves Franklin wanting to get money from the tooth fairy, even though he's a turtle and lacks teeth.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In the children's book I Lost My Tooth!, a dog loses his tooth and then can't find it, so he doesn't know how to let the Tooth Fairy know.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Sesame Street, the Tooth Fairy apparently has a relative called the Binky Fairy who takes young children's pacifiers and gives them to babies.
  • 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 Twilight Zone (1985): In "Tooth and Consequences", the Tooth Fairy appears in Dr. Myron Mandel's office after his failed suicide attempt and offers to give him anything that he wants. Myron wishes to be liked and respected by his patients and for Lydia Bixby to fall madly in love with him. The constant adulation soon proves to be too much for Myron and he hops a freight train. He meets five homeless men who turn out to be former dentists who had their own run-ins with the Tooth Fairy. Myron learns that he was just a pawn in the Tooth Fairy's scheme to get dentists out of the way so that he will have more business.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.
  • In Pathfinder, tooth fairies are tiny Chaotic Evil fey that look and act a bit like the ones from Hellboy II mentioned above. Created when a child's tooth is buried somewhere with a strong connection to the First World, they love to steal the teeth of other creatures by using giant pliers to rip them straight from the gums. They use said stolen teeth to replace their own missing teeth and decorate their lairs.

    Web Original 
  • This article on Aha Parenting is about children being told the Tooth Fairy doesn't exist.
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 one Family Guy episode, Stewie becomes obsessed with trying to captures the Tooth Fairy. He doesn't succeed but we do see the Tooth Fairy, who appears as a shabbily dressed man with a creepy obsession of rolling around in a large pile of teeth he's collected over the years.
  • In Futurama, Professor Farnsworth mentions that the Tooth Fairy was once believed to be a myth but is now head of the FBI.
  • An episode of Johnny Bravo sees Johnny try to restore Little Suzy's belief in the Tooth Fairy by dressing up as the Tooth Fairy, complete with a tutu and princess costume. However, the real Tooth Fairy shows up in the end and turns out to be a short, gruff, middle-aged man who doesn't find Johnny's impersonation very funny.
  • In the Legend Quest episode "Tooth Fairy", the Monster of the Week are the Bactus, insectile, tooth-eating creatures loosely based on the "tooth trolls" from Karius_and_Bactus. Teodora convinces them that, with an image change, kids will give them unwanted teeth.
  • In the Martha Speaks episode "The Puppy Tooth Fairy", Martha tries to be the dog version of the Tooth Fairy and replace puppies' lost teeth with dog treats. Skits becomes her assistant. However, they give up because it leads to them both losing sleep.
  • In an episode of Peppa Pig, Peppa loses a tooth and gets money from the Tooth Fairy.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • Robot Chicken: In "The Darkest Sketch In History", the Tooth Fairy visits a boy at the wrong time. The boy's dad comes home from his mistress' and gets into an argument with his wife. He ends up shooting his wife, which gets the Tooth Fairy to intervene. In the original ending, she kills him, goes back into the boy's room, gives him his money, and leaves. In the second and third ending, the father kills the Tooth Fairy.
  • Two different Tooth Fairies appear in two separate episodes of The Smurfs. In one episode, a Tooth Fairy is sought after to help ease Baby Smurf's teething pains, but she is held prisoner in a cave by a door that can't be removed unless somebody solves the algebraic problem presented on it. In another episode, Sassette loses her first tooth, and Gargamel kidnaps and disguises himself as the other Tooth Fairy in order to get his hands on the Smurfs.
  • 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.


 
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Rise of the Guardians

Queen Toothiana

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