Many cultures throughout history have sharpened some or even all of their teeth. Some cultures and subcultures around the world practice this as just part of their values. Some for traditional or spiritual reasons and others simply to modify their body.
Western Cultures/Pop Culture
Many of those in Western Culture change their teeth look for various reasons, such as previously mentioned the vampiric look. Some want to have larger K9 teeth for a more orcish look. There’s a new cult following in the world of “cosplay” to modify your teeth.
There is a Pop Culture following that encourages this. People dress up as fantasy characters to act out like these characters. Vampires, Orcs, Werewolves, and other such creatures fall into this genre.
Historical Traditions/Eastern/African Cultures
If you’re elsewhere in the world going for dental modification in more remote areas you’re more likely to find those who use the chisel. This practice is known as “Tooth Chiseling” in places like the Mentawai tribe of Indonesia. With no anesthesia, they will sharpen their teeth for beauty, spirituality, or to show status.
Indonesian Tooth Sharpening Traditions
In Bali, the practice of Potong Gigi is done to help signify that the individual is ready to marry. This is the opposite of sharpening but the concept is still the same. They file down their K9 teeth to ward away their animalist behaviors. Once this procedure is complete it allows others to know this child is now an adult.
African Tooth Sharpening Traditions
This practice started with other cultures such as different African tribes or those in the Dominican Republic. The Mentawai tribe of Indonesia shape their teeth by chiseling them down with crude instruments such as chisels or instruments that look like cake cutting objects. The woman of the tribe does this to make themselves look more beautiful. They believe by doing this they will be able to attract the best husband.
There is one tribe in particular who had an increase in fluoride that naturally occurred in their water system making their teeth soft. This allowed the men to sharpen their teeth to show status. It is always interesting to see what other cultures find beautiful.
Techniques For Sharpening Your Teeth
Whether you’re trying to reproduce vampiric fangs or honoring your ancestors here are some ways that people do this:
1. At The Dental Office
If you are in Western Culture looking to have your teeth sharpened, or just to improve that smile of yours, you might find yourself at a dentist’s office under anesthesia having your teeth filed down. This is known as contouring.
You could also see your dentist have dental bonding, dental crowns, or veneers. Dental bonding occurs when you bond tooth-colored material in the desired shape. Dental crowns are caps placed on your teeth. Similarly, veneers are thin custom made shells that are set on top of the teeth. These practices are all done to improve a person’s teeth aesthetically or to fix gaps in a person’s bite.
2. Sanding or Chipping
Some practices that are not done under the care of a professional are sandpaper, Dremel tool, or even a chisel. You’d need to do this very carefully as your enamel can chip easily exposing the root of the tooth.
Increasing florid, beyond CDC recommended safe doses, can soften your teeth to make this process easier. When removing the enamel you also risk increasing tooth sensitivity and risk of cavities.
Less dangerous ways would be to make your current tooth into a fang. Similar idea to what the dentist would do, but not as expensive or safe. Using fake fingernails and dental wax or dental adhesion you can shape the fingernail into a fang-like shape. From there you could take the dental wax or dental adhesion and apply the fingernail to your tooth. This will allow for the look with less damage to your teeth than using a Dremel tool, sandpaper or file.
Another less damaging way would be to make fangs that are specifically designed for your teeth.
You would need:
- A paper cup or mouthguard
- Casting material (such as plastic casting resin)
- Sculpting clay
- A shaping tool
- Nail acrylic (the two-part kind used for acrylic nails with the powder and liquid)
- Petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline)
These materials can be purchased from dental supply stores (which can be found online), a sports store, art supply stores, beauty salons supply store and a simple run to Walgreens (make sure to check the store for coupons).
Instructions on How to Create Fake Teeth
Once you have your supplies, you will need to follow these instructions to create your fake teeth:
- Mix the alginate.
- Pour it into the mouthguard.
- Quickly bite down carefully.
- Wait 3 minutes (or until solid) then pull it off by pulling straight down.
- Mix and pour the acrylic into the mold you just created.
- Wait until it is cool to touch then wait for an additional 10 to 15 minutes to ensure complete drying has occurred.
- Remove from the mold.
- With sculpting clay, you can go ahead and sculpt the clay K9 tooth.
- Make a second impression with the larger fangs.
- Let the mold set and then rub the new mold with the petroleum jelly.
- The petroleum keeps the acrylic from sticking.
- Mix the acrylic until it is a paste.
- Slowly pour into the impression left by clay.
- Make sure it is done slowly to avoid any air bubbles being added.
- Allow for it to mostly set.
- Take the original impression of your teeth and slowly press down until it has become a “cap”.
- Allow to completely set.
- Remove the fang.
They should be a custom fit to your teeth.
Would sharpened teeth grow back?
The simple answer is no. Once the enamel has been chipped or altered it will not change unless it chips again. This is because the enamel is not living tissue and can therefore not regenerate itself.
If you have any reservations about taking a mechanical instrument, such as a chisel, to your mouth to sharpen your teeth, you should definitely think twice about it. Some people don’t have a problem doing this and will do it for cosplay reasons or other reasons mentioned above. If your teeth are already sensitive in some way, definitely consult your dentist. Your dentist would probably advise against altering the enamel of your teeth but they may be able to tell you the best method to do so if you’re going to do it.