Long derided, at last it seems as if famously wonky British teeth are having a moment. At least one cosmetic dentist is reportedly noticing a backlash against perfect Hollywood-esque smiles in favour of something more natural. The Harley Street dentist Mark Hughes said that with “perfectly imperfect teeth ... It is the opposite of asking for straight square white blocks of teeth. Often, celebrities with a more natural look are used as examples of what the patient is trying to achieve.” So, in honour of those who have resisted the dazzle of a perfect and blinding set of teeth, here are some admirably grin-and-bear-it celebrity smiles — our wonky-tooth heroes.
There have been others whose diastema (the official term for a gap between one’s teeth) have been a striking element of their look, such as Lauren Hutton and Brigitte Bardot, but Madonna’s refusal to have hers “fixed” brought gap teeth — and the idea of embracing one’s uniqueness — to the mainstream.
In a country and industry where straight, white, just-the-right-number-for-your-mouth teeth are standard, diverging from this seems a radical act. Buscemi regularly makes the top of lists of celebs with “bad” teeth but it’s hard to imagine the actor with anything other than his characterful mouth. “I’ve had dentists who have wanted to help me out, but I say: ‘You know, I won’t work again if you fix my teeth’,” Buscemi has said .
Moss has described her teeth as “gangly” but her jagged little teeth have always been part of her edgy beauty. She wouldn’t be half as rock’n’roll had she succumbed to any pressure to prettify her smile. She also paved the way for other less conventionally toothed models such as Lara Stone.
When publicising his film ‘Ghost Town’, an American journalist asked about Gervais’s “horrible-looking fake” teeth. “I told him, ‘No, actually, they are my own,’ and there was this long pause. He was horrified that I could have such horrible real teeth.” Gervais has said before that his own dentistry idol was David Bowie; when he interviewed Bowie in 2003 for the Observer, he told him: “One of the reasons I never worried about having crooked teeth was because they were just like yours. Then you got yours done.”
Dunst has repeatedly been asked about her teeth in interviews, even though to most European eyes they seem a vision of near-perfection. It’s her snaggled incisors that seem to alarm some people, though. Dunst has said the film director Sofia Coppola advised her not to change them. “She said, ‘I love your teeth, don’t ever fix them,’ so when I was asked at 20 years old to fix them for a role, I said, ‘No, Sofia thinks they’re cool. I’ll keep them.’”
“People have suggested that I fix them,” says Dafoe in a short film about his teeth, “but I like my gaps ... Gaps are openness, possibility, room to savour.” It’s a strange little film, but a good reminder about embracing one’s perceived imperfections.