There are various reasons for teeth chiselling in each culture. It could to do with religious beliefs or cultural standard of beauty. It normally takes place around puberty, when a boy’s voice deepens and a girl becomes fertile. The practice is celebrated through holding a feast, music and ceremonial dress.
The two canine teeth and incisors between them are scraped down to be the same length. The actual process takes a short five to ten minutes. The six teeth filed are believed to represent the ‘Sad Ripu’, undesirable qualities that can linger in one’s life. In addition, sharpened teeth keep the spirits happy and bring balance to a female’s life.
Tooth chiselling has in fact been banned by the Indonesian government; however the Mentawai tribe have refused to stop the practice, along with their ceremonial dress.