Johnny Depp is one of the most popular and acclaimed actors in Hollywood. He has starred in numerous major films over the past few decades, including the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Edward Scissorhands, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and many more. Depp is known for immersing himself into his acting roles, often radically changing his appearance to portray eccentric characters. One of Depp’s most distinctive physical features is his gold teeth. So why does Johnny Depp have gold teeth?

The Origin of Depp’s Gold Teeth

The Origin of Depp's Gold Teeth

Depp’s gold teeth originated early in his acting career while playing a gritty character. In 1989, Depp starred in the film Cry-Baby alongside Iggy Pop. Depp played a rebellious teen from the wrong side of the tracks with a flair for singing and dancing.

Wanting a gritty, edgy look for the character

To give his character an edgy, gritty look, Depp decided to get a gold tooth cap grilled onto one of his teeth. Depp thought the gold tooth gave his character more attitude and emphasized his rough upbringing and rebellious spirit. This initial gold tooth cap started Depp’s signature dental style that has evolved over the years.

Additional gold teeth over the years

Over time, Depp continued to add more gold teeth to his smile. He got additional permanent gold tooth caps installed on his teeth to maintain the edgy, punk rocker look. Depp has estimated that he now has around seven or eight permanent gold teeth crowned on his teeth. The gold teeth have become an iconic part of Depp’s smile and personal style.

Gold Teeth in Depp’s Famous Roles

Throughout his career, Depp’s gold teeth have made their way into some of his most popular characters. The gold teeth emphasize these characters as outsiders and help Depp transform into their unique personalities.

Captain Jack Sparrow

In the Pirates of the Caribbean films, Johnny Depp plays the eccentric pirate Captain Jack Sparrow. Depp wears gold teeth in this role to showcase Sparrow’s adventurous, wild spirit and pirate background. The gold teeth add a hint of edginess and roughness to Depp’s performance.

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In the 2013 film The Lone Ranger, Depp stars as Tonto, the Native American sidekick of the Lone Ranger. For this role, Depp had additional gold teeth added to his smile to better portray the character. The gold teeth helped signify Tonto’s grittier look and rural background.


In the Fantastic Beasts films, Depp plays the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. Grindelwald has several gold teeth that Depp had fitted specifically for the role. The gold teeth help emphasize the character’s dangerous yet alluring qualities.

The Significance of Gold Teeth

The Significance of Gold Teeth

So why does Depp choose to wear permanent gold teeth so often for his roles? Gold teeth actually have an interesting cultural significance.

Symbol of status

Historically, gold teeth were seen as a status symbol of wealth and affluence. Only those who could afford it would replace healthy teeth with expensive gold tooth caps. The wealthy would show off their gold teeth as a sign of success.

Symbol of rebellion

Eventually, gold teeth took on more rebellious connotations. Lower income individuals, gangs, hip hop artists, and rebels would get gold teeth as a sign of defiance against traditional social rules. Gold teeth marked them as edgy outsiders.

Visual shorthand

So for Depp, the gold teeth provide a quick visual shorthand for many of his characters. With just a glint of his gold teeth, audiences immediately perceive his characters as dangerous, rough, rebellious, edgy, or risky. The gold teeth convey volumes without Depp having to say a word.

Impact on Depp’s Personal Life

In Depp’s personal life, his gold teeth have also had an impact and taken on their own meaning.

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Rite of passage

Depp has described getting his first gold tooth as a “rite of passage” at the start of his acting career. It marked his transition into more serious, edgy acting roles.

Part of his smile

Over time, the gold teeth became part of Depp’s signature smile. Close friends and fans couldn’t imagine him without them.

Reminder of success

Depp has said the gold teeth remind him of the success he’s achieved in life. The expensive custom work reminds him of the financial security his acting career has brought him.

Connection to family

The gold teeth also represent Depp’s connection to his children. Depp has recounted how his daughter Lily-Rose Depp also got gold teeth to match her father, representing their close bond.

Concerns about the Gold Teeth

Concerns about the Gold Teeth

Though Depp is closely associated with his gold teeth, they have also occasionally caused him some problems and public scrutiny.

Damaged teeth

There are concerns that the constant grinding of gold crowns on Depp’s natural teeth may eventually weaken or damage them. The gold caps can gradually cause dental issues.

Public judgements

Depp’s gold teeth have occasionally attracted negative judgements too. Some see gold teeth as unsightly or unprofessional. Depp has defended them as his personal style.

Legal issues

During Depp’s 2020 libel trial, his gold teeth even drew some criticism from the judge in the case. This shows how strongly Depp’s gold teeth factor into public perceptions of him.

Johnny Depp’s Gold Teeth: An Iconic Hollywood Smile

So why does Johnny Depp have gold teeth? Through a chance film role in the 1980s, Depp’s gold teeth became an integral part of both his personal style and many of his most famous onscreen characters. Over decades in Hollywood, his smile of gold teeth has come to signify both his personal success and his ability to portray edgy, dangerous outsiders. Depp’s gold teeth represent an intentional, distinctive fashion choice and one of the most iconic smiles in Hollywood. For Depp fans, his glittering gold teeth are a reminder of his incredible acting career and ability to fully inhabit an eclectic range of characters.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How many gold teeth does Johnny Depp have?

A: Depp has estimated he has around 7 or 8 permanent gold tooth caps in his mouth at this point. The number has grown over his career.

Q: What was the first role Depp wore gold teeth for?

A: Depp first wore a single gold tooth cap for his role as a rebellious teen in the 1989 musical film Cry-Baby.

Q: Do the gold teeth affect Depp’s real teeth?

A: There are concerns that long-term use of gold caps could eventually damage or weaken Depp’s natural teeth over time due to grinding pressure.

Q: Have Depp’s kids also gotten gold teeth?

A: Yes, Depp’s daughter Lily-Rose has gotten some gold teeth matching her father’s, representing their close relationship.

Q: Do the gold teeth have cultural meaning?

A: Historically gold teeth symbolized wealth, but later represented rebellion. Depp uses them as visual shorthand for many characters.

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