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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 fantasy figure among children. Their job is to collect the teeth that children lose and replace them with money (usually in the form of a coin of some sort).

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 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: In one 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.
  • The Far Side:
    • Parodied in one 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 to bring the pliers.
      Beware Billy! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

    Fan Works 
  • Star Wars: Galactic Folklore and Mythology: There's a legendary being similar to the Tooth Fairy known as the Skin Sprite. Instead of taking teeth, it takes alien children's shed skins, which it brings back to its home, stuffs with straw, brings to life and raises as its own.

    Films — Animation 
  • Ernest et Célestine: Mice collect the teeth of bears so that they can be used by mouse dentists to replace the teeth other that mice lose.
  • Finding Nemo: One of the bonus features 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".
  • Rise of the Guardians: Toothiana is a part-hummingbird and 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.
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • Don't Be Afraid of the Dark: The Fair Folk 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.
  • 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 Santa Clause: The sequels feature a male Tooth Fairy played by Art LaFleur, with the Running Gag that he wants his title changed to something a bit more masculine, like "the Molinator". He's part of the Council of Legendary Figures, alongisde Mother Nature, Father Time, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman, Cupid, and Jack Frost.
  • The Tooth Fairy:
    • In the original film, Derek Thompson becomes an actual tooth fairy after he tells his girlfriend's daughter that the tooth fairy doesn't exist.
    • Tooth Fairy 2 has the same premise as the original except with an all-new cast.
  • Toothless: Kirstie Alley, a dentist, becomes a tooth fairy while she's in limbo.
  • Transformers: A young girl mistakes Ironhide, who landed in her home's swimming pool, for the tooth fairy.

    Literature 
  • 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.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Discussed when Rodrick Heffley tells his younger brother Greg that there's an Arm Fairy and a Leg Fairy as well as the Tooth Fairy.
  • 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 now protects the teeth from being used for Sympathetic Magic.
  • Dork Diaries: Nikki's younger sister Brianna fears the Tooth Fairy, believing that she'll steal all her teeth. Nikki ends up weaponizing this at one point when she needs to distract MacKenzie; she simply tells Brianna that the older girl is actually the Tooth Fairy and lets her loose.
  • Franklin: One of the books involves Franklin wanting to get money from the tooth fairy, even though he's a turtle and lacks teeth. He tries to bluff her with a small white rock.
  • The Guardians of Childhood: Toothiana, the tooth fairy, is one of the members of the Guardians.
  • The Holiday Handwriting School: The penmanship teacher Mrs. Holliday helps Santa Claus, 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.
  • 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.
  • Junie B. Jones: In 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.
  • Little Princess: Discussed in "I Want My Tooth", where the Princess loses a tooth and her parents tell her about the Tooth Fairy.
  • In Rainbow Magic, a series all about themed fairies, the Tooth Fairy is named Tamara, and her magic helps her find lost teeth and leave coins under pillows, as well as protect dentists. In her book, Jack Frost (the series' antagonist) steals her magic items, so she, Rachel, and Kirsty have to get them back.
  • Roys Bedoys: In "Roys Bedoys and the Tooth Fairy", Roys loses a tooth and wonders if the tooth fairy is real. Loys ends up getting the money instead, so Roys writes a note and then gets money, but it’s left ambiguous whether the fairy is real.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun: "The Tooth Harry" appropriately includes Harry learning about the tooth fairy. He tries to play the role for Nina, who has just gotten her wisdom teeth removed, but it results in a One Dialogue, Two Conversations misunderstanding in which she believes that she has been Mistaken for Prostitute.
  • Bewitched: The Tooth Fairy (whose first name is Mary) is a personal friend of Samantha's, who comes to visit when Tabitha loses her first tooth. It's a cold night, and Samantha offers her a bit of brandy to warm her up. When Mary accidentally gets crocked as a result, Samantha has to fill in for her while she sleeps it off.
  • Frasier: Daphne recounts two stories of her brothers greedily exploiting the tradition. When one brother lost his first tooth he got his money and instead of being grateful he started hitting other kids at school and stealing their baby teeth to get more money. In another incident a different brother lost a toe after a mishap with a frozen lake. His family told him to put it out for the "Toe Fairy" who left him £5, which prompted him to try and cut off his other toes too.
  • Supernatural: One episode has 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 is ripping people's teeth out. Him and the other weird things were created by a young Reality Warper with a very active imagination.
  • This Is Us: In a flashback in "Family Meeting", Kevin loses seven teeth, Randall five and Kate none. All three kids are uncomfortable with the concept of a nocturnal intruder who collects their teeth and leaves cash behind. Kevin devises a scheme to trap the Tooth Fairy. Their mother, Rebecca, allows Kevin to think his plan almost succeeded, but she lets Randall see the truth of the situation: that Rebecca is the one who collects the teeth and leaves the cash.
  • 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.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Noddy Shop: In "The Tooth Fairy", the titular fairy, played by Carol Kane, visits Truman when his teeth are about to fall out.
  • Sesame Street: The Tooth Fairy apparently has a relative called the Binky Fairy who takes young children's pacifiers and gives them to babies.

    Radio 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Pathfinder: Tooth fairies are tiny Chaotic Evil fey that look like small winged gremlins. 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. A tooth fairy who consumes a large number of such teeth can grow into a deformed, powerful tooth fairy monarch, who afterwards rules over its fellows with an iron fist.
  • Santas 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.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • RuneScape: Teeth are apparently the major trade of Zanaris, and are used to create tooth golems for manual labor and combat as necessary. Any fairy not specifically identified as having a different job is usually out to collect teeth.

    Webcomics 
  • Sleepless Domain: Anemone mentions a fictional Magical Girl fittingly titled Tooth Fairy, implying that this fantasy figure is a magical girl in their world.

    Web Original 
  • 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 
  • The Adventures of Sam & Max: Freelance Police: This concept is played for laughs when Max gets a splinter. Sam advises him to place it under his pillow, so that the Splinter Fairy could leave him a shiny new two-by-four.
  • The Animal Shelf: In one episode, the plushies want to get money from the Tooth Fairy, but Timothy has to give them money instead because they don't have teeth.
  • 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.
  • Arthur: Discussed in "[[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 by using a shark tooth she bought from the museum.
  • Big City Greens: In "Hurty Tooth", Tilly has a hallucination where she encounters the Tooth Fairy.
  • Bunsen is a Beast: The Tooth Fairy plays a role in the episode "Tooth or Consequences", which involves Mikey and Bunsen getting money from Bunsen's endless amount of loose teeth and their friend Darcy hoping to find a way to get the Tooth Fairy to visit her when she was born with adult teeth and never lost a tooth in her life.
  • The Fairly OddParents: The Tooth Fairy 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.
  • Family Guy: In "Prick Up Your Ears", Stewie becomes obsessed with trying to capture 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.
  • Fanboy and Chum Chum: "Tooth or Scare" has Kyle lose a tooth and panic at suffering the wrath of the Wizard Tooth Fairy, who is a ruthless barbarian who not only takes the lost teeth of wizards, but the rest of said wizard's teeth as well. After unsuccessfully tricking the Wizard Tooth Fairy into believing that Kyle's teeth are intact, Kyle manages to drive him away after learning that he is vulnerable to pillows.
  • Futurama: Professor Farnsworth mentions that the Tooth Fairy was once believed to be a myth but is now head of the FBI.
  • Johnny Bravo: "Tooth or Consequences" sees Johnny try to restore Little Suzy's belief in the Tooth Fairy by dressing up as the fairy in question, 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.
  • Legend Quest: In "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.
  • Martha Speaks: In "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.
  • Peppa Pig: In one episode, Peppa loses a tooth and gets money from the Tooth Fairy.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: In "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 taste of her own medicine with Bubbles commenting "a tooth for a tooth".
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: In "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.
  • The Smurfs: Two different Tooth Fairies appear in two separate episodes. 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.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In " The Whole Tooth", Patrick has his last baby tooth extracted, with SpongeBob promising that it'll be taken by the Tooth Fairy, much to Squidward's ridicule. Squidward then catches SpongeBob taking Patrick's tooth in the middle of the night, leaving Patrick heartbroken, until SpongeBob takes the two to what he really meant, a giant boat called the Tooth Ferry, which does take baby teeth in exchange for money.
  • Teen Titans Go!: The Tooth Fairy is portrayed as a 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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Queen Toothiana

Queen Toothiana, Guardian of Memories and the original tooth fairy.

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