Fangs for the memories – special effects teeth you might remember

When you watch a movie and spot a familiar actor that looks a little different sometimes it’s hard to place just what it is that has changed.

The chances are that they have been fitted with some special effects teeth. It can be startling the difference that TV and film teeth can make. Take the incredibly successful film adaptation of stage musical Les Mis – it just goes to show that the best way to demonstrate poverty and falling on hard times is with a pair of rotten choppers.

The shape of someone’s teeth actually has an effect on the way their overall face appears. They can also change a person’s speech and pronunciation. When it comes to films it’s not only werewolves and vampires who get the full special effects teeth treatment – everyday characters need consideration also.

There are some famous faces that have delved into the magic of prosthetic teeth to enhance a part – especially when portraying historical or ageing characters. Take Kate Winslet in ‘the Reader’. She had to age from a woman in her thirties to someone close to the end of their life. A pearly white youthful set of teeth would have looked ridiculous – so a set of subtly discoloured and offset teeth were fitted.

Then there’s Meryl Streep in the Iron Lady. She underwent hours of rigorous prosthetic enhancement to portray and ageing Margaret Thatcher – but the one consistent detail was the special effects teeth that ensured the Iron Ladies signature gap on a side front tooth was in place throughout.

Whilst you might not remember films for details like special effects teeth the fact they are there makes a big difference and you would certainly not be saying ‘fangs for the memories’ if the teeth used looked out of character and out of place.