Tooth Bling: Embedded Gems Add a Little Glitz and Glamour to Your Smile
- Tooth gems are safe fashion accessories for anyone looking to upgrade their smile.
- They last for years yet can also be removed if you want to restore your original look.
- Costs vary in function of the gem and design chosen.
Interested in taking your already winning smile to the next level? If so, a recent celebrity trend that actually dates back 2,500 hundred years could be just the thing.
Find out more on how tooth gems are installed, how long they last and if there are any risks.
What are tooth gems?
Although tooth gems — sported by stars like Rihanna, Bella Hadid, Hailey Baldwin, Katy Perry and Pink — may seem like a recent phenomenon, according to National Geographic, inhabitants of ancient Mesoamerica were adorning their teeth with semiprecious gems nearly three millennia ago.
Beverly Hills dentist, Dr. Anjali Rajpal, a.k.a. “The Diamond Dentist,” whose clients include a host of celebrities, is at the forefront of the trend.
Rajpal is of course a proponent of these adornments and notes that “Tooth gems are fun and safe fashion accessories that enhance a smile with their shine.”
How tooth gems are installed
Before you run out to purchase a rhinestone and a tube of crazy glue, stop. It’s best to leave this one to the professionals.
There are a number of do-it-yourself tooth gem kits on the market but such products increase your risk of damaging your teeth and can result in complications, such as tooth decay.
To avoid any dental accidents that could incur a much bigger expense down the line, tooth gems should be applied by an expert who knows what they’re doing.
There are two application methods — permanent and temporary.
- Permanent installation
The permanent technique involves drilling a small hole into the tooth where the jewel will sit. Although the drilling method provides long-lasting results, it also has drawbacks.
Drilling can be painful, and the procedure is somewhat difficult to reverse. Other problems include the fading of the gem over time and the possibility of the ornament detaching from the tooth entirely and exposing the drill site.
So, make sure you’re up for the commitment — permanent installation should only be considered if you’re sure that you want the gem to remain in your mouth for an extended period of time.
- Temporary application
A temporary tooth gem is a safer, more practical option, especially if you are uncertain about the length of time you would like to sport this adornment.
The technique is painless, requiring little more than some superficial etching at the point where the jewel will be placed. A gem is then bonded to the tooth with the same fastening agent that dentists use for attaching orthodontic brackets, ensuring that the tooth gem is both secure and safe for your teeth.
The process, Rajpal explains, “is simple, and painless and takes just a few minutes to perform.” She is also quick to note that if a patient has a change of heart, “it only takes a few minutes to remove a gem and polish the tooth back to its original state.”
A period of adjustment
You may need a couple days before a tooth gem feels comfortable in your mouth.
Rajpal says that patients will initially be aware of the presence of the gem, as they would any foreign object in their mouth.
However, she assures us that “they will accustom to the presence of the jewelry” in time.
How long do tooth gems last?
The length of time that a jewel remains adhered to a tooth depends on the habits of the wearer.
Stress or pressure applied to the gem due to chewy or crunchy foods, or excessive force while brushing your teeth can result in the detachment of the jewel.
According to Rajpal, tooth jewelry can last for years.
What stone will work best for you?
Tooth gems are exhibited in a variety of ways. If you prefer subtlety, they can be placed further back in your mouth to ensure that they are partially concealed.
If you want something more obvious, installing a jewel on one of your front teeth creates a chic and glamorous fashion statement.
- Types of jewels
Tooth jewels come in a variety of shapes and stones. Depending on your budget, your options include a cornucopia of choices that include crystals, gold, diamonds and birthstones.
They can be shaped into stars, dollar signs, hearts — or even the Nike logo, as worn by Katy Perry.
- Let’s talk price
There are a variety of different materials and designs associated with tooth gems. Rajpal notes that prices vary depending on your choice of jewelry.
“The cost ranges from a few hundred dollars to several thousand,” she says.
What are the risks?
Over time, tooth gems may affect the enamel, increasing the risk of tooth decay and infection — if proper dental care, such as regular brushing and flossing, has not been maintained. In addition, such adornments may result in a discolored area on the surface of your tooth if there is poor hygiene.
However, a tooth gem should not trigger any pain. If you do experience pain, contact your dentist immediately.
Note that the stones have no sharp edges and pose no risk if swallowed. On the odd chance that you do swallow one, it should pass through your digestive system naturally.
Dental hygiene dos and don’ts
A tooth jewel will not adversely impact your oral health. However, dentists recommend that you avoid using an electric or ultrasonic toothbrush for the first 24 hours after the stone is attached.
Tooth jewelry will not restrict professional cleaning and should not pose a problem for hygienists who polish your teeth. They will simply clean on top and around the jewel with a soft point to avoid detaching the gem.
Bear in mind, tooth gems do offer an extra place for food or bacteria to remain concealed. Your dentist will provide you with instructions regarding the proper care of your augmented tooth and the surrounding area.
“As long as you adhere to those instructions your oral health should not be compromised,” Rajpal says.
Enhancing your smile
If you’re looking for something unique that will set you apart from the crowd, then this trend could be the answer. Tooth jewelry is a safe way to add a chic accent to your pearly whites.
With proper maintenance, they should pose no risk to your oral health. To avoid any complications, just bear in mind that such adornments should only be installed by a professional.
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