The Real Story Behind Tom Cruise’s Signature Smile (and Misaligned Teeth)

Tom Cruise is an iconic movie star who is still going strong even in his fifties. With major movies such as Top Gun and Mission: Impossible in his filmography, Cruise is a Hollywood heavyweight who has also been involved in film production.

Although he has been the subject of controversy over the years, Cruise manages to stay above the fray and doesn’t address any rumors. Still, one rumor that can be substantiated is the one behind Cruise’s signature smile.

When he first began acting in movies, Cruise’s teeth looked significantly different than they do now, and many experts surmise that he has had major dental work.

How did Tom Cruise get started in acting?

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise | Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Born in 1962 in Syracuse, New York, Tom Cruise actually spent the better part of his childhood in Canada. Cruise’s father had a position with the Canadian Armed Forces, which meant that Cruise, along with his mother and three sisters, had to uproot their lives in New York and relocate to Beacon Hill, Ottawa.

While in Canada, Cruise became interested in acting and got involved in the dramatic arts, performing in local school productions and drama festivals.

After graduating high school, Cruise moved to LA in order to try and get his acting career up and running. Within just a few years, Cruise was acting in small roles in movies, including Taps and The Outsiders.

His first big hit was 1986’s Top Gun, although he had previously earned critical acclaim for his work in Risky Business and All the Right Moves. Although audiences were falling in love with Cruise’s charm and good looks, there was one feature that he didn’t wait too long to try and correct.

Tom Cruise’s (formerly) terrible teeth

One of Cruise’s trademarks is his bright white smile. However, he wasn’t born with that pearly grin. During his first few film appearances, Cruise’s teeth were visibly yellowish and misaligned.

Once he started getting work in bigger films, such as Top Gun, Cruise likely realized that his teeth weren’t exactly “movie-star worthy” and began the lengthy, expensive process to correct them. 

According to some dental experts, Cruise turned to braces first to try and straighten his smile. Around the same time, he reportedly got veneers put on his teeth in order to reduce the yellow appearance of a few of his teeth. He likely spent years trying to find the perfect dental solution, even showing up to red carpet events in the early 2000s with visible braces on his teeth. 

Tom Cruise has had major dental work done

For years, a meme has circulated on the internet, pointing out how Cruise seems to have one single tooth in that lines up perfectly with the center of his face. Far from being a mean joke, Cruise does actually still have misaligned teeth, although they are much whiter and shinier than his early days.

Some experts surmise that Cruise might have actually had major upper jaw work that resulted in his upper teeth undergoing a significant shift. 

Since Tom Cruise himself has never actually spoken out regarding his dental work, all the speculation regarding any possible procedures that he might have had is just that – speculation. Still, it seems undeniable that he has had something done to his teeth, since before and after pictures don’t really lie. These days, Tom Cruise remains a worldwide star, with little that can phase his perfectly cool persona.

The pictures of his old teeth still exist online, however, proof positive that even celebrities often experience a major “glow-up.”