Is it body modification?

I’ve always been split on exactly where various forms of “tooth art” fall on the “is it body modification” question. Clearly wearing temporary caps on ones teeth is not (and if is is, so is wearing a hat or a mask), but permanent caps? I think one could make the argument that they’re beginning to move into the same realm as an implant? But then what about dreads?

Is tooth filing the same as cutting fingernails? What about gluing gems onto ones teeth? What if they’re set into a drilled hole first? In any case, I was looking at dental fangs made by iam:DistortedSmiles in NYC (who’s at, and the thing I was most thrilled about were his unique “orc” or troll style teeth… As a big fan of warthogs, this is a sort of fang that I’ve been hoping someone would figure out for a long time. There are more pictures of them after the break, and for BME members there are lots of pictures of how he makes them out of acrylic in the next update (which I may end up posting early; later tonight).




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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

51 thoughts on “Is it body modification?

  1. filing teeth is much different from filing your nails.
    I may be wrong, but i don’t think teeth grow back like nails.
    so, i would definatly say it is body modification

  2. if he’s actually physically manipulating and/or “modifying” a part of his body, then it is, in definition, literally, “body mod.” What makes filing or painting one’s finger nails NOT body mod? i remember the nail etching from earlier posts, how is that much different?

    I dont know much of anything about dreads, but if someone were to say dye their hair different colors or chemically staighten it, whats the difference? is it considered body mod if you’re modifying a part of your body from its natural form into something different?

    i see a big discussion coming from this post!

  3. 1. I’d love to hear this guy try to speak.

    2. He really needs to clean that yellow shit up. I think I wanna puke.

  4. looks sweet

    but i can only imagine a walk through a department store or mall

    “are those real?”
    “why would you do that”
    “what about when you’re 60″
    “can you reverse that?”
    “you know how hard it will be to get a job?”
    or my personal favorite
    “doesn’t that hurt?”…(regarding my ears usually) yes i walk around in pain 24/7 like that guy from the da Vinci code, mhmm, it hurts all the time every waking second

  5. I think if you think about it technically, any of that falls under “modifying” your body. But the term “body modification” generally refers to a more limited selection of things. Breast reduction/implants, plastic surgery, nose jobs and the like are definitely a modification to one’s body, but isn’t really thought of as a “body modification”. I think it’s more how accepted and “mainstream” something is, if it makes people stare in the street, that determines if something is considered a “body modification”. Many employers look down on tattoos, piercing, scars, etc. but definitely don’t see a problem with braces and nose jobs. I think bearing that in mind, the fangs count.

  6. “but definitely don’t see a problem with braces and nose jobs.”

    so in contrast, tattoos and piercings are wrong?

    Personally I’ve never known anyone to stop and stare in a negative manner to my piercings or tattoos. I personally think that tattoos and piercings are becoming even more mainstream than nose jobs. If you think about it, the average person probably has had (or at least has a friend with) piercings or tattoos, but NOT a nose job.

    l get what you’re trying to say, Cirrin, but I think the whole idea is its their own body, so wether it “counts” or not shouldn’t matter as long as they are happy with it.

  7. I would like to disagree with #6, I don’t think hair and nails really count since neither are living tissue. So when you change those you aren’t so much changing the body as something else that is already attached to the body. It may be an issue of semantics but then everything is. For hair and nail mods to count as body modifications to me they would have to alter the living part of the body that produces them (such as the nail bed or follicles).

    Teeth however are a bit trickier I would like to think that permanent or semi-permanent changes to the actual teeth do count (even if i personally find them silly) since while the outer layers of teeth are not alive the inner pulp is.

  8. in response to #11&12

    I agree that plastic surgery is definitely a form of body modification, who could argue it isn’t, all with the cutting things off and sticking things in – i mean hell they peel off most of your face from your head during a full face lift!

    However, I think these are generally grouped differently because plastic surgery, as well as braces and tooth whitening, is a means to modify the body within the general scope of what is naturally possible.

    On the other hand what we generally consider as body modification within this community are methods of modifying the body for adornment or ritual purposes, most of which are well out side the realm of natural possibility.

    There is of course overlap between the two paradigms, say porn stars getting breast implants that are literally larger then their heads…..but thats a matter for another discussion entirely.

  9. i wonder how his jaw feels, since he’s forcing himself to make an underbite in the photos. longterm wear of those would hurt!

  10. To me, modification is modification, regardless of the intent. When you alter, subtract from, or add on to the body, you modify it. Period. My stretched ears are no different than a nose job. I like them because they look and feel good to me. If i were to get a nose job, it would look and feel good to me because I have a big fat nose that to me, looks out of place on my face and doesn’t feel like it belongs. No difference! Tattoos make the way I look more pleasurable to me, implants feel good. It makes no difference why someone changes their body, imo, unless its for someone other than themselves!

  11. Plastic Surgery IS modifying your body.

    Body Building IS modifying your body.

    and yes, at least in my eyes, putting on wigs, false teeth, make up,etc IS modifying your body.

    It may not be semi or permanent(long term wearing) modifications…But body modification is changing something that your body naturally looks like.

    Just like The Lizardman said in terms of modification its all linear but each persons view of modification is scattered all through-out that line….So where one person things having dreads, putting on makeup, filing your nails strange shapes,etc is weird and modification…another will say that’s not modification, plastic surgery is…Then another will say body building is…another will say cutting off your toe is modifying the body,etc.

    Personally I think that Warthog/Orc teeth can be viewed as modification, especially since its going really against the norm of what standard/average human teeth look like.

    It’s making me really want to play Warcraft lmao

  12. i wonder about the ramifications of this in the long term. his jaw looks like it is sitting forward even when closed, so if he doesn’t naturally have an underbite i wonder if it gets tired. also, most teeth caps and veneers are ceramic or porcelain (mostly the same deal, if i’m not mistaken), right? will acrylic even hold up? will it discolor? ah! so many questions. also, how did he stick them on? i assume he roughed up his natural teeth with a drill first like a dentist would do to get them to stick… good lord, i don’t know why i’m so curious about this.

  13. I would like to offer something to consider with people asking why hair and nails might not be body mods.. maybe the line could be drawn because hair and nails are not living? The bits you cut or dye or paint aren’t alive to begin with.. just… attached.

  14. HA HA well I’ll put my two pennies in but before I do I wanna say, they are made from dental acrylic and are removable, I just think contact lenses for your mouth. That’s what happens when an “artist” gets his hands on some dental acrylic.

    Now for on, is it body modification, well I ask you this.. Your out with friends and you meet a female with green eyes, long straight hair, thin, big perky boobs, great skin and straight pearly whites. You get to her place after making out and such you spend the night and wake up to a frizzy haired chubby pimply girl with not so perky boobs, a bustier at the edge of the bed, she has one green eye and one brown and her teeth aren’t straight at all she just took out her not so very “Distorted” DistortedSmiles tooth corrections. She might be my type but would you feel she has mods?

    There’s a difference between permanent and none permanent mods as well as those that conceal and those that you can’t hide. Like wearing a bra for years or wearing rings around your neck, Ear stretching passed a certain point is a more permanent mod then some 8g’s but they are both mods, I consider MAC a non permanent mod that conceals and gives a different appearance to the wearer even though it’s just make up.

  15. … well … what is a modification but something that has been modified from it’s original condition?

    some are perm and some are temp … but all are mods …

  16. i was thinking about dreads relating to modification earlier actually. they involve a new way of thinking about your body, and learning new things about it that you wouldn’t ever know otherwise – not unlike a piercing, tattoo, suspension, implant, whathaveyou.

    there are tons of reasons why people are drawn towards modification. i think that what you consider a ‘mod’ is related to what made the individual want to do it. and does permanence determine anything? is a dermal anchor more of a mod than a p.a.? is a ‘mod’ something that changes function? i mean hey, this guy with the teeth has changed his body more in a physiological sense than i’ve ever seen anyone do with a tattoo.

    i guess i just prefer ‘cultivation’. or hell, just expression.

    but that’s just where i come from.

  17. i think people are delving too deep for the meanig of bodymodification since it has the meanng i itself, modyfiyng the body, no one said that there were rules like it has to be permenent or it can only be living tissue, piercings or tattoos, i thik if you later your body any way even anything such as getting your pancreas removed for surgery your body has become modified, its on a wider scale then most people tend to think

  18. plastic surgery counts!! I had my ears pointed by a body modification artist but it is still plastic surgery, it is still very permanent!

  19. haha, uber Lulz, when i read Shannon’s comment, it made my night even more funny, ohh and yeah the teeth are pretty phat.

  20. My view on what is Bodmod would be to alter your appearance and of course even your body in a way that is spiritual or aestethic and not purely for function (that would be bracers for instance).

    To the pics themself.
    Aka’Magosh Mok’Nathal

    I’m such a nerd ^^
    I LOVE these teeth,they look awesome.
    You should without doubt get some green paint and go to the next BlizzCon and win all the prices!

  21. Reminds me opf the Orcs from World of Warcraft, which can only be a good thing. Awesome idea.

  22. #9. From the looks of things, his natural teeth are beautifully cared for, it’s only the acrylic ‘orcteeth’ that are yellowed. Seems to me that the color on the acrylic is intentionally done.

  23. reading through these comments i feel compelled to say

    changing your body in anyway is, in essence, a body modification. hair dye, tooth caps, nail polish, tattoo, piercings and plastic surgery… it is all body mods, because you are modifying your body to the way you want it :)

  24. Also, #9, remember the photos have been shopped a bit; the first one especially you can see the colour correction and the desaturation. I assume the guy who took them or Shannon altered the yellowybits to make them more yellow. I imagine in real light they look more naturally discoloured, because teeth aren’t snow white.

    I think body modification can only be understood in it’s broadest and most general form. Sure, we’re all socialized to view certain mods as “normal”, and certain mods as “radical”. But why is a woman getting implants [or even a reduction!] “normal”, while a transman getting his chest reconstructed “radical”? Why is piercing little girl’s ears with cheap gold studs at the mall “normal”, and a teenager getting 12g capture bead rings at a piercing shop “radical”? A person in their 40′s is normal if they dye their hair to hide the grey, but a person in their 20′s is immature/”pushing it” if they decide they want seafoam green hair.
    As people who are “into” radical-looking body modifications, we understand that society only accepts so much, and we’re snubbed for not being “normal”, or we’ve seen others snubbed for it. We subconsciously recognize “normal” body modification, and discount it as modification because it’s more regularly accepted in western culture. When you come to a site that’s devoted to body modification, people are more apt to share less culturally approved things, because there’s space allowed for it. So by seeing more extreme radical modifications, we’ve desensitized ourself to “regular” radical modifications, especially those that mimic normalized, culturally accepted modifications [hair dye, fake teeth], to a point where we have people saying that, ‘oh sure, that’s modification, but it’s not “really” modification!’

    basically, yes, it’s body modification, but we might not see it that way because it’s procedurally close to modification that’s culturally accepted [in the West, at least].

    Anyway, I like the guy’s teeth. It’s kinda cute how they poke out, even though he’s got a frown/seriousface on.
    I’ve been thinking of getting the more cliche, “vampire” teeth. My fangs aren’t as long as my brother’s, and it makes me jealous. hah.

  25. Modify [verb]: make partial or minor (!) changes to something, typically so as to improve it or make it less extreme (haha!).
    [biology] transform (a structure) from its original anatomical form during development or evolution.

  26. i have vampire caps, and would consider those being permanent, except that depending on the solution used. they would crack if treated improperly. i hope those dont crack as easily.

    i personally wouldnt do it, but more power to you, they look wicked. :)

  27. Permanently glued caps, filed teeth are definately bod mods… unlike filing nails or cutting hair, which regrows, and isn’t permanent…

    That’s my view.

  28. hm, it doesn’t look so comfortable.

    well i consider it a body mod… and i think temporary caps, cutting your fingernails, hair dying, etc are also a kind of body modification, even though the results are not permanent. i mean.. you can take out your piercings if you want to, you can take out your implants, you can (at least try to) remove your tattoos… and it doesn’t mean they’re not body modifications..

  29. wigs, hair dye, dreads and nail polish body mods?


    I think that idea is completely ridiculous. If I put on a t-shirt or get a new hair cut, who in their right mind would consider that a body modification? To me that’s no different than putting on a wig, dying your hair, dreads, nail polish or whatever else.

    Hair is not a body part. What some of you people are referring to is actually fashion or style.

    Body modification is something you can feel. Something that gets in your skin and can or will stay there. I would call tooth modification a body modification, the same way removing a bone is modifying your body.

  30. Oh, those are spiffy. =D I wonder what they feel like as well. And how eating is, or drooling. I seem to drool enough as it is with my natural teeth. ._.”
    I have two ideas of “body modification.” One is what we see here on ModBlog, of tattoos and piercings and implants, etc., and the other is all encompassing and not really set in stone. So if you wanted to talk about how clothing is body modification, sure, I’m down. I don’t usually think of it like that, but it does change our appearance. I guess it’s sort of like also thinking of how phones and cars make us cyborgs. Not everyone agrees, but it’s an interesting way to look at things and as least discuss them.
    Body building, cosmetic surgery, dental work, medical changes to the body are definitely body modification to me though.

  31. those are perminent right? where could i get them ive allways wanted a pair, but tops not bottems. how much did those cost you? and was there a recovery time?

  32. Hi, My name is T’sarveK, and I started the whole fangs for the public thing some 30 years ago at NorthWest Con, a SiFi convention in Washington state. Hear And in other states the fangs are classed as a type of Jewelry, as in most cases they are removable.. They fit Over ones own teeth. As they are functional when made correctly, I count them as a body mod., personally. as for the issue of the acrylic holding up, I know of some of my customers fangs lasting for over 5 years, when properly taken care of. If they are pollished, the staining is minimal. The orc teeth shown are probably built like a Denture,as it looks like at least the front 8 lower teeth are done. I wonder if he had the uppers done too, and is not wearing them. The acrylic is dental acrylic and is very durable. They look like very good work.

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