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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 50-53

Tooth adornments, gems, and grills

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Sri Sukhmani Dental College and Hospital, Dera Bassi, Punjab, India

Date of Submission28-Sep-2022
Date of Decision04-Oct-2022
Date of Acceptance07-Oct-2022
Date of Web Publication19-Dec-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Harpuneet Kaur
Sunny Enclave, Sector 125, Greater Mohali, Punjab
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijohs.ijohs_26_22

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For many years and until now, tooth ornaments have been used as ornaments. Trends in dental jewelry right now include twinkles and dazzlers. They often consist of special glass or precious stone covered in an incredibly thin coating of multicarat gold plating. Glass crystals set on a thin layer of aluminum foil make up the tooth gems, which come in a variety of attractive colors. Accessories known as grills are used to mask the wearer's teeth. Gold, silver, or other metals are used to make grills, and the wearer has the option of adding stones to them. A person may occasionally have tooth loss as a result of issues with dental jewelry, such as tooth fracture and gum recession, plaque buildup, aspiration, allergy, or chronic injury to the neighboring teeth or mucosa. However, these problems can be minimized and the tooth gem will remain on the tooth for a longer amount of time if a person practices appropriate oral hygiene. Before inserting such structures, it is essential from a dental standpoint to advise patients of any possible risks and negative effects.

Keywords: Dazzlers, tooth adornments, tooth gems, tooth grills, tooth jewelry, twinkles

How to cite this article:
Kaur H. Tooth adornments, gems, and grills. Int J Oral Health Sci 2022;12:50-3

How to cite this URL:
Kaur H. Tooth adornments, gems, and grills. Int J Oral Health Sci [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Jun 1];12:50-3. Available from: https://www.ijohsjournal.org/text.asp?2022/12/2/50/364223

  Introduction Top

Humans have felt the impulse to alter and adorn their bodies since the dawn of humanity. For many decades, tooth decorations have been used as ornaments and they still exist today. Tooth jewels, “dental grills,” and tooth tattoos are currently popular in the United States but are not yet widespread in the United Kingdom.[1] With growing public awareness, tooth jewelry, a cosmetic dentistry technique, in which a diamond or stone is attached to the teeth, is becoming of the greatest importance.[2],[3] Until recently, dentistry was only associated with discomfort, anxiety, and suffering. However, with time, things have altered. Dentistry and dental care are now essential components of living a healthy life, and in the future, fashion elements will also be incorporated into these practices. The primary selling point of dentistry is esthetics. However, in addition to the more common cosmetic and smile-enhancing operations, a few other parts of dentistry have emerged that can genuinely be described as unconventional. These are jewelry made of teeth and tattoos on the teeth. However, it turns out that numerous Asian societies have long practiced tooth fashion and ornamentation.[4]

  History Top

There have been reports of tooth mutilation, or the intentional alteration of a person's teeth, in many parts of the world, including the Pacific, Asia, Africa, South, and Central America. Since prehistoric times, human remains have shown evidence of purposeful alteration of traumatic origin, such as tooth extraction and modification of the tooth surface or shape (e.g., by filling, notching, drilling, grooving, grinding, staining, and chipping).[5] Research in the field of paleodontology has established the existence of cosmetic dentistry in antiquity. Although the best-documented examples of these practices come from pre-Columbian America, dental mutilation and ornamentation have been found in various forms in some of the oldest civilizations in China, India, Southeast Asia, Africa, and North America.[6] The upper incisor specimen from Halin (Burma) offers proof of dental ornamentation in Southeast Asia. The “gold teeth” from Halin may date to the 7th century A.D. or later, based on Chinese references. The upper incisors of the tooth specimens were perforated, and many golden inlays were placed inside of them to adorn them. This sophisticated method of esthetic dentistry proved that teeth with decorations were seen as beautiful objects.[6],[7] Since the ancient Mexicans inlaid valuable stones into their teeth as ornamentation, the practice of decorating teeth has a long history.[5],[8]

  Current Trend in United States Top

There are now more uncommon dental modification trends in the US, primarily affecting African-Americans. Decorative gold crowns placed on the front teeth as a symbol of riches and pride are currently popular among African-Americans in the US. Gold crowns applied to teeth solely for esthetic purposes are known as tooth jewelry; some of these crowns even feature cut-out designs or windows that are common throughout America's many cultures. Only the wealthy can afford the luxury of having gold teeth, and this is useful to demonstrate to the other sex that the person is someone to be taken into consideration when choosing a sexual partner.[5],[9]

  Trend of Dental Jewellery in Hollywood Top

Just Ice, Flavor Flav, Buff Love, Slick Rick, and many others are famous hip-hop performers with golden crowns and bridges in the anterior region of the dentition. These fixed dental prostheses were produced by dentists and were either made of plain gold or gold with minimal adornment. Eddie Plain, also known as “Famous Eddie Mouth Full Of Golds,” a jeweler from New York, created the first removable dental ornaments in hip-hop. His “pioneering technique of combining multiple gold caps to form single sets, which could easily be removed with a slight pull, would become a cultural phenomenon.”[10],[11] Grills became extremely well liked among rappers in the South of the United States, including Outcast, Lil Jon, Nelly, Ludacris, and others, after moving from New York to Atlanta in 1992. Dental grills rose to popularity in the 2000s and are now a multimillion-dollar industry. The work of Johnnie Dang also known as “The King of Bling.”[11],[12] A Vietnamese American jeweler, who created custom grills for musicians including Paul Wall, Migos, Gucci Mane, Lil Pump, Keith Ape, Chief Keef, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, Cardi B, Rick Ross, Kanye West, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Snoop Dogg, etc., helped the diamond.[11] The grill craze really took off in the 2010s with mainstream music icons such as Madonna, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Justin Bieber.[11],[13],[14]

  Dazzlers and Twinkles Top

They represent current dental jewelry trends. They often consist of a specific glass or precious stone-filled extra thin multicarat gold plating. These range from common stones to diamonds and other precious stones. The stones are either immediately fastened to the teeth or are first embedded in precious metal. There are different sizes and forms of metal that the stones are fastened to. The common stones come in a variety of hues.[15],[16] There is no need to prepare the teeth; the enamel is simply erased before the stones are luted with flowable composites. The tooth might be the maxillary anterior teeth, and the most favored stone is white in color.[16]

  Tooth Gems Top

Glass crystals set on a thin aluminum foil are what makeup tooth gems, which come in a variety of appealing colors. Crystals called Skyce are transparent and sapphire-white or blue. Three distinct hues are offered for the brilliance tooth jewelry – ruby red, sapphire blue, and crystal clear, in two sizes (1.8 mm and 2.6 mm). The most affordable type of dental jewelry is made of rainbow crystals. They are best used as a temporary arrangement, to test out a new service in your office, or for clients with limited resources. There are two sizes and ten different colors of rainbow crystals (1.8 mm and 2.5 mm).[16],[17]

  Procedure and Bonding Instructions Top

A polishing paste free of fluoride is used to clean the tooth. Totally dry the tooth, and then place it in isolation. To improve the surface area for bonding, 37% orthophosphoric acid is used to etch the tooth for 20–30 s. Completely rinse the area with water, and then blow-dry it for 10 s. (There should be no etchant left on the tooth!) Use a bonding agent that cures under the light. Keep it on for no more than 20 s while blowing air to disseminate the bonding. Next, expose to light for 20 s. Put a little amount of flow composite on the tooth's surface. To pick up the jewel with ease, use a jewel handler. Insert it into the composite's middle. (The composite must ooze on the sides to enclose it and provide macro mechanical retention; however, make sure the jewel is in contact with the enamel.) Now that the patient has had a chance to inspect the jewel's positioning in the mirror, you can modify it. Take the light-curing lamp, and for about 60 s, begin curing the composite from the top. Make sure the composite hardens uniformly by doing a brief light cure from the sides and a 60-s light cure from the tooth's root. It takes about 180 s to complete the curing process. (Remember to adhere to the bonding system's directions!) 20 s are required for the jewel to completely set into the composite. Once the jewel is taken out of the casing, avoid touching it with your fingers. Avoid skin contact with the unique coating on the jewel's backside to ensure optimum adhesiveness.[16],[17] The safe attachment of the jewel takes around 4 min. To remineralize the etched area, topical fluoride is applied to the enamel. The enamel would not be affected as the diamond is taken out in the same way that a brace is taken out. The tooth must be polished once the gem has been removed to remove any leftover bonding substances. When removing the stone, use a rubber polisher or a scaler. Simply use a polishing instrument to remove any remaining composite or bonding from the tooth. Fluoride is advised to be applied to the tooth so that the enamel can be stabilized and remineralized.[16],[17]

  Tooth Grills Top

Grills, which are also referred to as “fronts,” are typically removable, although some users have had their teeth modified with gold crowns to look like a grill permanently. Some people have also attempted to install “homemade” grills with permanent cement, which is not intended for internal usage and can harm tissues and teeth. There is no research demonstrating grills are detrimental to the mouth, but there are also no studies demonstrating the safety of long-term use. Some grills are made of nonprecious (base) metals, which may irritate the skin or trigger allergies.[18] Wearables called grills are designed to cover the wearer's teeth. Gold, silver, or other metals are used to make grills, which are then covered in jewels at the wearer's discretion.[17],[19]

  Possible Complications Top

Due to the numerous detrimental effects that grills and dental decorations can have on oral, dental, and general health, significant issues relating to ethics, education, and the formation of the perception of what is beautiful and what is unattractive, normal and abnormal, and other topics are on the table. Dentists, pediatricians, psychologists, anthropologists, and public relations specialists all need to take a broad interdisciplinary approach when examining the psychosomatic and social implications of wearing dental jewelry. Before inserting such structures, it is also vital from a dental standpoint to educate patients about any potential hazards and side effects that may occur.[11] Practitioners must discourage the wearing of grills and gold teeth at the clinical level. If a patient has one of these prosthetics, their dentist must advise them to practice good dental hygiene, utilize fluoride, and limit lengthy wear. The friction between esthetics, ethics, and economics has never been greater thanks to COVID-19's economic influence.[19] In addition, problems with tooth jewelry can occasionally result in tooth loss in a person, including tooth fracture and gum recession, plaque buildup, aspiration, allergy, or chromic injury to the surrounding teeth or mucosa,[3],[16] however, if a person maintains good dental hygiene, these issues can be minimized and the tooth jewel will stay on the tooth for a longer period of time.[3],[20]

The patient should get comprehensive instructions and be counseled to take the following precautions to eliminate these complications:[21]

  1. Extensive etching should be avoided when adding valuable stones
  2. It is better to avoid tooth alteration when wearing jewelry on the teeth. When lip function is impaired, the jewelry may occasionally result in lip ulcers[17],[21]
  3. Nevertheless, the tooth jewel's presence will not have any impact on oral care; however, it is advised against using an electric toothbrush for the first few hours after the tooth jewel has been affixed.

Tooth deterioration from jewelry can be minimized with the right safeguards implemented and patient education on the matter.[21]

  Conclusions Top

Since the beginning of time, people have felt the urge to modify and embellish their bodies. Tooth ornaments have been used as ornaments for many years and are still in use now. Current dental jewelry trends include dazzlers and twinkies. They frequently consist of an extra thin layer of multicarat gold plating covering a particular glass or precious stone. The components of tooth gems, which come in a range of attractive colors, are glass crystals mounted on a thin sheet of aluminum foil. Grills are accessories that are worn to conceal the wearer's teeth. Grills are made from gold, silver, or other metals, and the wearer may choose to adorn them with gems. With increased public awareness, the importance of tooth jewelry, a cosmetic dentistry procedure, in which a diamond or stone is attached to the teeth, is increasing. It is crucial from a dental perspective to inform patients of any potential risks and adverse effects before placing such structures.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Sanghavi SM, Chestnutt IG. Tooth decorations and modifications – Current trends and clinical implications. Dent Update 2016;43:313-6, 318.  Back to cited text no. 1
Yadav P, Mohapatra AK, Jain A. Oral piercing/ART-fashion or risk. J Adv Med Dent Sci Res 2014;2:100-3.  Back to cited text no. 2
Bhatia S, Arora V, Gupta N, Gupta P, Bansal M, Thakar S. Tooth jewellery- its knowledge and practice among dentists in Tricity, India. J Clin Diagn Res 2016;10:C32-5.  Back to cited text no. 3
Bachani J, Dhruti P, Patel A, Darmina J. Fashion trends in dentistry. J Res Med Dent Sci 2014;2:102.  Back to cited text no. 4
Pinchi V, Barbieri P, Pradella F, Focardi M, Bartolini V, Norelli GA. Dental ritual mutilations and forensic odontologist practice: A review of the literature. Acta Stomatol Croat 2015;49:3-13.  Back to cited text no. 5
Vuković AA, Bajsman A, Zukić S, Šečić S. Cosmetic dentistry in ancient time – Short review. Bull Int Assoc Paleodont 2009;3:9-13.  Back to cited text no. 6
Hudson B. Dental wealth. Archaeology 2003;56:10.  Back to cited text no. 7
Jones A. Dental transfigurements in Borneo. Br Dent J 2001;191:98-102.  Back to cited text no. 8
Pindborg JJ. Painting of teeth black in Asia. Tandlaegebladet 1982;86:235-6.  Back to cited text no. 9
Schofield D. The Story behind Grillz and Their Pioneer Famous Eddie. In: Mouth Full of Gold. Huck Magazine; May 16, 2021.  Back to cited text no. 10
Rangelov S, Mariana D. Dental Grillz – Critical analysis and patient opinions. J IMAB Annu Proc (Sci Pap) 2022;28:4366-70.  Back to cited text no. 11
Nguyen R. Who Is Johnny Dang – Vietnamese Jeweler Behind Success of American Rappers? Vietnam Times; July 12, 2021.  Back to cited text no. 12
DelliCarpini G Jr. Pop Star Ladies Wearing Grills: Madonna, Miley, Beyonce & More Show Off Golden Chops. Billboard; February 25, 2014.  Back to cited text no. 13
Prakash N. Justin Bieber Now Has Diamond-Covered Lavender Grills. Allure; September 27, 2019.  Back to cited text no. 14
Neiburger E. A large hypertrophic-keloid lesion associated with tongue piercing: Case report. Gen Dent 2006;54:46-7.  Back to cited text no. 15
Peter T, Titus S, & Francis G, Alani M, George A. Ornamental dentistry – An overview. J Evol Med Dent Sci 2013;2:666-76.  Back to cited text no. 16
Anandkumar GP. Tooth jewellery: a simple way to add sparkle to your smile. Indian J Dental Advancements 2010;2.  Back to cited text no. 17
ADA Division of Communications. Grills, 'grillz' and fronts. J Am Dent Assoc 2006;137:1192.  Back to cited text no. 18
Mtolo TM, Motloba PD. Grillz and gold teeth – Esthetic, economics and ethics. S Afr Dent J 2021;76:498-500.  Back to cited text no. 19
Kim HJ, Karanxha L, Park SJ. Non-destructive management of white spot lesions by using tooth jewelry. Restor Dent Endod 2012;37:236-9.  Back to cited text no. 20
Bhatia S, Gupta N, Gupta D, Arora V, Mehta N. Tooth jewellery: Fashion and dentistry go hand in hand. Indian J Dent Adv 2015;7:263-7.  Back to cited text no. 21


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   Dazzlers and Twi...
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