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Tooth Strip

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Barney gives us an inaccurate depiction of a Tyrannosaurus rex's dentition.

Travis: And while we're talking about mouth bones: why I gotta floss!? One solid piece.
Griffin: One big tooth!
Travis: One solid chomper!
— The McElroys giving notes to God, My Brother, My Brother and Me #494

Most people have 32 teeth, and in animation it isn't always practical to draw each individual tooth in a character's mouth. In some case it can run the risk of careening down the Unintentional Uncanny Valley. Because of this, a popular way of simplifying teeth is to draw them as a solid toothy mass stretching from one side of the mouth to the other.

Mostly an ignored trope. Especially unusual when some characters have tooth strips while others have realistically drawn teeth. It's common for people with normal teeth to be drawn this way while characters with Scary Teeth, Cute Little Fangs or otherwise unusual chompers have their individual teeth drawn to further emphasize their otherness. Depending on how loosely an animator is tethered to their model sheets, this can vary Depending on the Artist.

Contrast with British Teeth and More Teeth than the Osmond Family when you really do mean to see each one of those pearly whites. Tombstone Teeth are a lesser degree of simplification where the teeth are drawn individually, but just as rectangles. For a similar shorthand used on facial stubble, see Solid Cartoon Facial Stubble.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Notably averted in BECK in that every character has all their teeth visibly shown.
  • The only character in Speed Racer that has individual teeth is Captain Terror.
  • One Piece Zig-Zags this. A good portion of the time characters are shown with these teeth with notable exceptions like Arlong, especially early in the series, though later on it sort of goes back and forth with this.
    • Generally, non-Gonk women have these at all times, while men (who are generally drawn with larger, more expressive mouths) only have this when they're speaking calmly.
  • A female from Franken Fran goes through extreme plastic surgery to look like a cute anime girl. At one point, her lower jaw gets removed and replaced by an artificial, small version that has a single strip for teeth, because her chin his made so small to fit the look, there is no more room for individual teeth.
  • Prof. Chronos de Medici/Dr. Vellian Crowler is a notable aversion. His teeth are always drawn distinctly apart from each other. It doesn’t really do his Gonk appearance any favors though...
  • Characters in Cap Revolution Bottleman have undivided strips of teeth.

    Asian Animation 

    Films — Animation 
  • The Iguanadons in Dinosaur all have tooth strips, as a sop to real Iguanodons having beaks (basically they have lips over their beaks in the movie).
  • Pixar is infamously known for their tendency to give most of their nonhuman characters this kind of teeth, whether they are either toys, insects, monsters, fish, or vehicles.
  • The Incredibles averts this completely. Several characters' teeth were modeled after those of Pixar's animators.
  • Played straight with many animated Disney characters. Aversions include Beggar Jafar's crooked dentures and The Coachman's Nightmare Face.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Second Apocalypse: One of the many distinguishing features of the Nonmen is that their teeth are all fused together. The sranc, being based on Nonmen DNA, also have this feature.
  • In The Enemy Papers, the Dracs have one continuous tooth strip.

    Live-Action TV 
  • This is one of the signature traits of the eponymous purple dinosaur, Barney.
  • The Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger and Power Rangers Dino Charge have their helmets molded to resemble dinosaur heads; where helmets based on carnivores have serrated triangular patterns for teeth, the herbivore-based helmets have just a set of strips on the top and bottom.

  • The Leucrotta from Greek mythology is a hyena-like creature that has a solid ridge of bone in place of teeth.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Parodied in FoxTrot. Roger tries a whitening toothpaste which erases all the lines between his teeth.

    Video Games 
  • All of the Sonic the Hedgehog characters are shown this way, though quite a few of them have Cute Little Fangs as well.
  • This is how a great many Nintendo characters are drawn; exceptions, such as Wario and King Hippo, are almost always to invoke Gonk. This is such a staple that many fans were vocally uncomfortable when Luigi's Mansion 3 was announced and Luigi was on the cover nervously sporting a full set of teeth.
  • Impressive Title: The playable lion characters' teeth are depicted as thin white strips to compliment their cartoony appearance, but since the teeth are completely flat, the lions don't have any noticeable fangs to show off. This bugged many players as they argued that they looked unnatural, and some insisted on wearing the Fangs accessory item on their characters at all times just to give them more proper-looking teeth. Some fan-hosted servers even went to the point of editing the game's models, or replacing the teeth entirely just to keep it from annoying players.
    • Averted in FeralHeart, in which the playable characters have a realistic set of teeth displaying incisors, molars, and all.

  • Zigzagged in Ask the Ryans; characters having individual teeth varies between comics, but typically they will have strips if they are a significant distance away.
  • Girl Genius: The artstyle depicts most human teeth as a single flat white strip, unless there are fangs to be drawn or indicating individual teeth will help get an expression across.
  • Humans in Gunnerkrigg Court are usually depicted this way.
  • Lackadaisy actually shows a good reason as to why you'd want to use this trope in the first place. Just compare Rocky with a tooth strip to Rocky with fully rendered teeth.
  • In El Goonish Shive, most characters are depicted this way unless they are particularly monstrous or nonhuman.

    Western Animation 
  • Pretty much anyone in a Seth MacFarlane series. Especially Mr. Bottomtooth of Family Guy, a pretentious rich guy with a single bottom tooth. His son shares this trait. Strangely, Herbert the creepy pedophile also has tooth strips when he laughs or chuckles, despite not having most of his teeth. The end of the episode "Mind Over Murder" takes this to an even more bizarre extreme; Stewie's teeth have teeth.
  • Averted in South Park— even though the characters are crudely animated, they still have lines to mark the division of teeth.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: The girls sometimes have these.
  • We see a weird variation in Invader Zim: the Irkens all have their teeth joined together in an undulating, zipper-like pattern. The humans usually have their teeth drawn separately.
  • This is standard in 3D modelling: the artist models a tooth strip and maps the color and normals to make it look like a row of discrete teeth.
  • Bubs from Homestar Runner.
  • The Car Crusher at the end of The Brave Little Toaster has a large guillotine-like blade used to crush cars into tiny cubes that's shaped like a wall of teeth.
  • Recess uses this sometimes. Usually, regular shots of the characters will have this trope in effect, while more exaggerated expressions avert it.
  • 101 Dalmatians: The Series, Depending on the Artist.
  • Also Depending on the Artist, Spliced had one artist who seemed keen on presenting uneven teeth in some of the characters.
  • Just like the above example, Animaniacs had this happen at times. Usually in the shorts by Wang Film Productions, StarToons and on occasion, TMS Entertainment.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic generally draws teeth like this. The exceptions tend to be extreme closeups, such as during Sweetie Belle's nightmare in "For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils" and the Mouth Cam shot of Zecora in "A Health of Information".
    • The big bad of the Season 4 Finale, Lord Tirek more often than not subverts this trope. His teeth often being animated as disgustingly crooked and fanged by the animators.
    • Attentive viewers will note that Hulked-out Saddle Rager averts this trope too.
  • Batman: The Animated Series Mostly plays this trope straight with its characters. The most notable exceptions are The Joker, and Two-Face's scarred side's drooping mouth. Sometimes subverted when extreme reactions are shown.
  • Big City Greens downplays this a bit; while everyone does have white strips of teeth, the ends are bumpy to resemble the tooth lines. Played straight with Cricket's celebrity doppelganger Zillon Brax, who is the only character on the show whose teeth lines are completely straight with no bumps.
  • Hanna-Barbera animator Carlo Vinci utilized these.
  • Characters in Steven Universe generally have their teeth simplified to strips, unless their teeth are the only visible part of their mouth—then, they'll be drawn as three or four teeth in a single row. Jasper's more detailed expressions, including several Slasher Smiles and attempts at genuine smiles, are an exception, having both rows of teeth drawn individually. Spinel also generally has her teeth drawn more detailed than the other characters, even after her Heel–Face Turn.
  • In an unusual non-human example, The Amazing World of Gumball gives all the rabbit characters (Richard, Anais, and Granny Jojo) a single frontal tooth instead of the closely-space buck teeth of real-life rabbits. The same goes for Frankie, a rat, and the family of goats in "The Copycats".
  • Luna from Let's Go Luna! has a long, undivided strip of teeth.
  • The Crumpets sometimes depict teeth like this, usually if only the upper teeth is visible and the teeth is not blocking the entire mouth.
  • Most of the human characters in Avatar: The Last Airbender, and by extension The Legend of Korra, have teeth of this kind.
  • Characters In SpongeBob SquarePants zigzag this. Squidward‘s almost always drawn with his teeth like this (likely in reference to the fact that, as a cephalopod it’s actually a beak). Mrs. Puff almost always has them like this as well. Eugene Krabs is an interesting subversion in that, while his teeth are always one solid strip, they do have divider lines that don’t COMPLETELY connect from top to bottom.
  • Ready Jet Go!: The characters' teeth are usually styled in this manner, although a few close-up shots show that they do have individual teeth.
  • Popeye starting in 1951 for the theatrical shorts has these teeth. Other characters like Bluto and Olive Oyl are drawn with them Depending on the Artist. Though his nephews are an aversion, almost always being drawn with a single tooth.
  • The Chocolix' art style gives most, if not all the characters undivided teeth.
  • God Rocks!' art style gives most of the characters undivided strips of teeth.

    Real Life 
  • Dunkleosteus, a prehistoric fish with armored skin, once sported exposed jawbones closely resembling fictional examples of this trope.
  • Cookie-cutter sharks have all of their teeth fused together with one another, causing them to lose, swallow, and replace entire rows of teeth at once.

Alternative Title(s): Barney Teeth, Mouthwide Teeth, Dental Horseshoe, Uni Tooth, Monotooth Smile, One Wide Tooth, One Row Tooth