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Article: Are Tooth Gems Bad for Your Teeth? If So How?

Are Tooth Gems Bad for Your Teeth? If So How?

Are Tooth Gems Bad for Your Teeth? If So How?

The straight answer is yes—tooth gems do pose risks to dental health, especially with improper application and long-term wear. However, temporary tooth gems placed correctly under professional guidance cause little harm. This article examines tooth gems' safety issues to help you make an informed decision before embellishing your smile.

What are Tooth Gems?

Tooth gems, also called tooth jewels or dental crystals, adhere decorative shapes or “stones” to teeth. Usually made of metal, crystal, gemstones or mineral composites, they add sparkle and personality to your smile. Common tooth gem options include:

  • Geometry Shapes: stars, hearts, triangles, squares
  • Letters/Numbers
  • Imitation Piercings
  • Swarovski Crystals
  • Precious Metals: gold, silver
  • Birthstones: diamonds, opal, emerald

Tooth gems gained popularity in the 1990s as “grillz” and recently reemerged as a trendy dental accessory for teens and young adults. But are they safe?

Tooth Gem Benefits

When applied correctly, tooth gems provide temporary cosmetic benefits without damaging teeth:

  • Creative Self-Expression: Tooth gems allow personalization of your smile for events, vacation or photos. Like hair chalk or nail decals, they represent a decorative choice.
  • Charitable Support: Certain non-profits organizations sell tooth gems to fundraise for good causes. This engages youth in humanitarian efforts.
  • Special Event Dazzle: Much like hair extensions or costume pieces, tooth gems embellish your look temporarily. Assuming excellent hygiene and dentist removal shortly after, they add sparkle without destruction.

Tooth Gem Risks

However, many risks exist with improper tooth gem application or long-term wear:

Infection Risk

  • Bacteria & plaque accumulation under gem
  • Yeast/microbes breed in gem crevices
  • Blocks areas for cleaning or flossing
  • Irritates gums over time

Permanent Damage

  • Weakens & stains enamel from glue
  • Causes cavities beneath gems
  • Shifts/cracks teeth alignment
  • Requires dental repairs

Choking Hazards

  • Gems dislodge easily with friction
  • Hazardous for kids if swallowed

Other Issues

  • Food/debris gets trapped
  • Hurts with biting pressure
  • Need re-application by dentists

Clearly for anything beyond very temporary wear (1-2 weeks), tooth gems impose safety hazards and impede dental hygiene.

Professional Guidance Regarding Tooth Gems

The American Dental Association advises against tooth gems citing health concerns. Most dentists echo this stance and won't apply gems because of risks. However, some dentists understand tooth gems' cultural popularity so help cautiously. They recommend:

If Considering Tooth Gems:

  • Meet with your dentist first to discuss safety, risks and special care required
  • Agree to these parameters for gem placement:
Parameter Recommendation Reason
Placement Location Away from gumline Avoids irritation/infection
Bonding Agent Medical-grade adhesive only Ensures durability yet easy removal
Tooth Type Non-chewing teeth Reduces damage from biting pressure
Wear Duration 1-2 weeks maximum Prevents microbial growth and accumulation issues
Oral Hygiene Diligent brushing & flossing around gem Crucial to avoid trapped food, plaque
Checkups Monitor tooth for issues Removes gems immediately if problems detected

In rare cases, a conscientious dentist may safely administer tooth gems short-term with diligent monitoring and oral hygiene. Nonetheless, many experts consider tooth gems risky or even unethical to install given potential for harm.

Alternatives to Tooth Gems

Tooth gems are a popular cosmetic dental procedure, but they are not without their risks. If you are considering tooth gems, it is important to weigh the pros and cons carefully. Here are some alternatives to tooth gems that may be a better option for you:

  • Teeth whitening: Teeth whitening is a safe and effective way to brighten your smile. There are many different teeth whitening products available, so you can find one that fits your needs and budget.

  • Composite veneers: Composite veneers are a thin layer of tooth-colored material that is bonded to the front of your tooth. They can be used to improve the appearance of your teeth by hiding chips, cracks, and discoloration.

  • Porcelain veneers: Porcelain veneers are similar to composite veneers, but they are made of a more durable material. They can last for many years and are very resistant to staining.

  • Dental crowns: Dental crowns are caps that are placed over the entire tooth. They are a good option for teeth that are severely damaged or decayed.

If you are considering any of these alternatives to tooth gems, be sure to talk to your dentist. They can help you determine which option is best for you.


Are tooth gems bad for your teeth?

Tooth gems can pose risks to dental health, including enamel wear, tooth decay, and discoloration.

How can DIY tooth gem application be harmful?

DIY tooth gem application can lead to dental damage, tooth decay, plaque build-up, and gum damage if not done properly.

What are the long-term effects of tooth gems?

Long-term effects of tooth gems can include enamel wear, tooth decay, and potential permanent discoloration.

Are there risks associated with tooth gems and celebrities?

Yes, tooth gems can be concerning, especially for younger age groups who may look up to celebrities. Dental health risks include enamel wear, tooth decay, and staining.

What are the risks associated with adhesive use and dental grills?

Adhesive risks related to tooth gems can include gum irritation, allergic reactions, and damage to the tooth structure. Dental grills, another trend associated with tooth gems, can irritate gums and trigger allergies.

Why is professional dental care important for tooth gems?

Professional dental care ensures tooth gems are placed correctly, minimizing the risks of dental damage, plaque build-up, and tooth decay.

How can I maintain optimal oral hygiene with tooth gems?

Regular tooth brushing using appropriate techniques is crucial for individuals with tooth gems to maintain dental health and prevent plaque build-up and cavities.

What are safe and natural alternatives to tooth gems?

Safer alternatives to tooth gems include professional teeth whitening or composite/porcelain veneers, which can enhance dental aesthetics without compromising oral health.

How do tooth gems impact overall wellness?

The decision to get tooth gems should consider both dental health and overall wellness, as tooth gems can have negative effects on oral health.


    Tooth gems provide a creative way to accessorize your smile but pose many risks to long-term dental health, especially with DIY application. Work with an ethical dentist if curious, but focus on safety precautions. Prioritize alternatives that don’t jeopardize your oral wellness - tooth gems shouldn’t replace dental care basics. At the end of the day, smile confidence should come from health foremost.