Tooth Gems Are The Dazzling Accessory For Your Smile, But How Safe Are They?
Beauty & Fashion

Tooth Gems Are The Dazzling Accessory For Your Smile, But How Safe Are They?

If you’re looking for a reason to smile, tooth gems could be the answer. You’ve probably noticed a range of bedazzled styles like low-rise jeans and butterfly tank tops making their rounds in our summer fashion cycle. And as the rise of Y2K-inspired trends continues to captivate our attention, one 90s-00s fad is paying homage to a tooth accessory that’s making a major comeback.

What are tooth gems?

Minty Marley

Tooth gems are tiny jewels and charms bonded to the surface of teeth. From diamonds, gold, crystals, and precious stones, the range of colors and layouts to choose from is endless.

While the re-popularization of tooth gems may seem like a blinged-out trend to surface from popular internet culture, the original tooth modification and decoration has been practiced in various cultures throughout history. Dating back to ancient Egypt where people would decorate their teeth with precious stones, similarly, Mayans and other indigenous cultures were known for embedding gems or pieces of metal into teeth as embellishments.

Back in the 1990s and early 2000s, tooth gems experienced a major resurgence with celebrities and pop stars seen sporting the look along with gold fronts, or grills. Today, this dental ornamentation has become more widely available due to advancements in dental technology and trained professionals who are able to perform the procedure.

How do professionals do tooth gems?

Among these is professional tooth gemmist and founder of Minty Merch, Minty Marley. The Chicago-based gem artist has provided tooth gem services for notable figures like Marsai Martin, rappers DRAM, Vic Mensa, Lil Baby, and other entertainers in the Atlanta rap scene. “I’ve been doing tooth gems for three years now, and one of my first clients was Young Thug’s sister,” she tells xoNecole. “The day I did her tooth gems, Gunna was in the studio and they were really intrigued by it.”

Minty explains that her process of applying tooth gems is very similar to that of getting braces. “The process is pretty simple, where you begin by priming the tooth’s enamel [with etching gel], then an adhesive glue is applied and the gem is secured to the tooth with a curing light.”

While every gem artist is different, most prices for tooth gems range from $60 to $250 depending on the amount of crystals used and the intricacy of the design placement.

How long do tooth gems last?

Minty Marley

When it comes to securing the longevity of your tooth gems, Minty emphasizes that pre- and post-care are key. Because the adhesive takes a full 24 hours to properly bond to the tooth, it’s important to eat beforehand. “For the first hour after getting your tooth gem, you don’t want to eat hard foods or drink,” she says. “Don’t brush directly on the tooth within the first 24 hours in order for the glue to fully cure.” Avoid picking at your newly placed tooth gems.

With proper care, your tooth gem can last anywhere between six months to over one year.

Are tooth gems safe?

Minty Marley

When it comes to semi-permanent tooth gems, think of them as a temporary accessory that causes little to no harm to your teeth. “I think the biggest misconception about tooth gems is that it can hurt your enamel — which it could depending on who you go to for the procedure,” she explains. “Some people use crystals that aren’t lead-free which can damage the tooth, but the professional glue itself won’t affect the enamel because it’s the same glue used for braces.”

Although is it important to keep in mind the potential of your tooth gem trapping plaque, with proper oral hygiene through regular cleaning that can be averted.

If you are considering upgrading your smile with tooth gems, seek out a professional dentist or tooth gem artist to reduce the risk of incorrect application that comes with DIY alternatives. And of course, let those pearly whites shine.

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Featured image courtesy of Minty Marley




This article is in partnership with SheaMoisture

Skylar Marshai is known for her extravagant style, and her hair is no exception. But now, she’s giving her hair a break and focusing on hair care with SheaMoisture’s Bond Repair Collection. “I feel like my hair has always been an extension of my storytelling because I know it's so innately linked to my self-expression that I've been thinking a lot about how my love for crafting my hair into these different forms and shapes has honestly never given it a chance to just be,” Skylar explains.

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