“Show, don’t tell” is a cardinal rule of storytelling, which is why great filmmaking uses wardrobe, set dressing, and styling in addition to dialogue to convey information. The first introduction of a new character quickly tells the viewer what we’re supposed to think about them — even down to their teeth.
In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Neville Longbottom’s crooked, oversized teeth cue the viewer in that he’s goofy, unpopular, and awkward. In The Fellowship of the Ring, Saruman’s stained, crooked teeth foreshadow his eventual betrayal of Gandalf by hinting at the darkness and decay hiding behind his pristine white appearance. And while it may be a tired stereotype by now, in the nineties, Austin Powers’ crooked, yellow grin was a clever way to comedically mark the character as British.
The Business of Movie Teeth
Behind every ridiculous set of pearly whites on film, there’s a dental technician like Gary Archer. Archer has been creating dental prosthetics for Hollywood films for over two decades (including the aforementioned Austin Powers set, which was his most iconic dental prosthetic for film.)
On top of being responsible for Austin Powers’ disconcerting mouthful, Archer also created the dentures that fall out of Robin Williams’ mouth and into his glass of water in Mrs. Doubtfire, Tom Hanks’ pus-filled dental abscess in Castaway, and the luminescent white veneers that Jonah Hill wears in The Wolf of Wall Street. He even created 150 sets of vampire teeth for Interview With a Vampire.
Despite being just for show, these prosthetics need to fit into actors’ mouths so that they can act without difficulty, and many of them need to be durable enough to be worn throughout months of filming. Archer takes impressions of the actors’ teeth, and then works with makeup artists and directors to design whatever prosthetic will create the look they want.
And Archer is good at his job — his prosthetics feel so natural that sometimes actors forget they’re wearing them. Anthony Hopkins found his veneers for Nixon so comfortable that he would frequently wear them to lunch, or even home, before realizing he’d forgotten to leave them at the studio. This is a long way from the original porcelain veneers developed in Hollywood, which were so fragile they could only be worn during shooting–eating with them in would break them!
What Do Your Teeth Say About You?
The use of dental prosthetics in film is proof of just how much the look of someone’s teeth impacts how we view them. By the same token, you can change how people perceive you by changing your smile with cosmetic dentistry.
If you don’t want to mimic Austin Powers’ look, teeth whitening can correct yellowed teeth, and clear braces can bring crooked teeth into place for a straighter smile. You may even be eligible for Six Month Smiles, which can straighten teeth more quickly and affordably than other orthodontic options.
If you have chipped or cracked teeth, white fillings can solve the problem subtly and effectively. And to avoid an embarrassing Mrs. Doubtfire disaster with your dentures, try the Denture Fountain of Youth. These dentures offer the best fit and function on the market, so you don’t ever have to worry about them slipping out.
If you’re looking for a cosmetic dentist in Sydney, call (02) 9686 7375 or contact us online to make an appointment at My Hills Dentist in Baulkham Hills.