PHYSICAL FEATURE THESAURUS

TEETH



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HELPFUL TIP:

One trick to writing fresh emotional responses is to focus on different parts of the body. Think carefully about the character’s exact emotions in the scene and how the body might shift or move in response. Vividly describing the colors, shapes, or textures in the character's environment can also bring the scene to life for readers.
DESCRIPTORS AND KEY ELEMENTS:
A retainer
Aching
Baby teeth
Blackened
Braces
Bright
Broken
Buck-toothed
Capped
Cavity-riddled
Chipped
Cracked
Crooked
Crowded
Dentures
False teeth
Gap-toothed
Gray
Grinding
Implants
Jutted
Loose
Nicotine-stained
Orderly
Over-sized
Overbite
Pearly
Pointed
Polished
Rotten
Sensitive
Snaggle-toothed
Spaced
Straight
Twisted
Underbite
Uneven
Veneers
White
Yellowed
COMMON ACTIONS AND ALTERNATIVE WORDS TO DENOTE THEM:
Cut: rip, slice, tear, shred, rend, split, cleave, pierce, strip
Chew: masticate, gnaw, mash, smash, grind, flatten, crush, chomp, nibble, eat, munch
Teeth also impact the sound of a person’s speech. The placement of one's teeth can affect the way they say their letters, giving them a lisp or other impediment. Someone with missing teeth might adopt a slight whistle to some of their words. When dentures are removed, a person's speech can sound muffled or slurry.

EMOTIONS AND RELATED GESTURES:
In a fit of rage, a person might bare his teeth at others. Angry breaths can force air thorugh his clenched teeth. In extreme cases, an enraged person might bite someone else, intending to hurt or maim them.

Frustration is often revealed through a tight jaw and clamped-together teeth. The teeth might also grind or tap against each other.

A person in the throes of desire may lick his teeth or rub his tongue over their grooves. Playful biting is also a common gesture for this emotional state.

SIMILE AND METAPHOR EXAMPLES:
The politician's smile flashed like a paparazzi's camera. It gave me a headache.

His smile was a white picket fence.

CLICHÉS TO AVOID:
Having “horse” teeth
People from Britain having bad teeth
Something unnerving setting one's teeth on edge
Teeth as white as pearls
An old person being described as "long in the tooth"

BODY DESCRIPTION NOTES:
When describing any part of the body, use cues that show the reader more than just a physical sketch. Make your descriptions do double duty: Alan didn’t savor his food. He didn't take small, considerate bites, pausing to reflect on the complex flavors of the citrus duck and saffron stuffing. Instead, he shoveled in bite after bite, his teeth tearing and mashing, consuming calories for the sole purpose of burning them off on the football field.