True Blood LogoAs we’re entering the last season of HBO’s groundbreaking vampire series True Blood, the series, which has already had six bloodletting seasons, deserves some consideration, and, of course, from a dentist‘s standpoint, the teeth matter most, which means the unique design of the vampire fangs used in the series.

The Tradition behind True Blood‘s Fangs

There are two primary approaches to conceptualizing vampire fangs. In the first approach, the fangs are always present, and look simply like enlarged canines. This tradition comes mostly from the time when vampires were villains that often represented dangerous foreigners and sexual transgression, so having them marked makes sense.

In the second tradition, vampires either have no fangs or their fangs are retractable. This has become more common in recent vampire tradition, and it includes the vampires of Twilight (no fangs), and True Blood (retractable fangs). With vampires becoming more positive figures, often representing oppressed minorities, it makes sense that the vampires should be better able to “pass” as normal humans.

Designing True Blood‘s Fangs

In making True Blood, effects people wanted to give the vampires a different appearance. They also wanted to conceptualize the fangs in a way that makes sense from a physiological perspective, so they decided to model the vampire fangs after a natural animal’s fangs: the rattlesnake. They decided that like the rattlesnake, the fangs would naturally fold back and lie along the roof of the mouth, then snap into place when the vampire needed them. Although they are completely CGI, the effects people try to make it seem realistic with a discernible click as the fangs pop into place.

What really makes the True Blood fangs unique, though, is their placement. Unlike most vampire fangs, they are placed not on the canines, but on the lateral incisors–the flat teeth in the front that are off to the side, not in the center.

This makes sense to a certain extent because having the fangs further forward makes it easier for them to bite into their victims. In addition, it makes them more similar to the teeth of vampire bats, which use their sharp incisors for cutting the skin of their victims.

The smile design of True Blood‘s vampires helps give the series its bite, and our cosmetic dentistry can help you get the smile you desire–most likely sans fangs–with the added benefit that it won’t be CGI, it’ll be real.