The dental jewels return

Rosalía is, without a doubt, a trendsetter. She did it with the extra long and baroque nails and now they have touched the decorative dental caps. For her latest album, ‘Motomami’, she placed a kind of golden heart-shaped jewel between the two palettes. Months after her it was another singer, Katy Perry, who copied her in a much more exaggerated way for her latest video clip, ‘Dark Horse’. Since then, many young people have decided to imitate them and put appliqués in their mouths. They are one more accessory.

Although it seems like the latest of the latest, it is an eighties rapper fad that returns from time to time. Four decades ago, artists put on very bulky metal sleeves. It was the era of bling-bling and ‘gangsta’ style jewelry. The pioneer is considered to be Eddie Plein, a businessman who changed the face of hip hop and sported striking gold grills in his mouth. The writer and filmmaker Lyle Lindgren, author of his biography, ‘Mouth Full of Golds’, tells that he came up with it during a trip to Suriname (formerly Dutch Guiana) in 1983, after his teeth were broken. Later, other musicians such as Big Daddy Kane, Outkast, Ludacris…

In reality, the experts say, it was not their original idea either, but rather it followed the tradition started by the Mayans. The members of this Mesoamerican civilization pierced their teeth to encrust jades, turquoise and other precious stones. In addition, these grafts were made regardless of social class or gender and with a type of glue that would not spoil the pieces over the years, as several studies from the Autonomous University of Yucatán have shown.

What the Mayans did is precisely what dentists do not recommend at all. “When this type of decoration is placed, it is necessary to avoid affecting the enamel,” warns Óscar Castro, president of the General Council of Dentists in Spain. That is, the tooth must not be touched, they must adapt to it. “We must not forget that we are dealing with a living part of our body: it has blood vessels, nerves…”. Everything that we are going to wear has to go over the top, nothing to scratch, make holes or cracks. “Some time ago it also became fashionable in Japan to crowd the teeth when it is precisely one of the things that we try to correct the most in the office,” he recalls.

Rosalía is one of the regular singers of this type of decoration on the teeth.


As a cyclical fashion that it is, the phenomenon returns from time to time, although with nuances. Now, what they wear are dental caps (or grillz) in gold, silver and with very striking jewel inlays or appliqués on the teeth (called ‘toothgems’). In the 1990s, for example, what was in fashion was small diamonds (mostly fake) or Swarovsk stones. In both cases, we can find the products in a wide range of prices and markets. However, dentists urge a lot of caution. “You have to do it with professionals.”

Buying these types of plugins on Aliexpress or Amazon has its risks. The safest are specialized stores, such as Grillz Madrid, which was born as the hobby of a dental technician with his own workshop and is now his main occupation. There they have kits to make molds of the teeth of their clients for about 38 euros. “There are three samples and it is important to do all three of them,” they point out. From there they make the “totally personalized” covers.

The latter is very important, according to the General Council of Dentists in Spain. The covers or gems have to fit like a glove. “You shouldn’t file your teeth to make them fit. It is very dangerous, ”Castro warns.

This professional also has other advice for those who want to join this fashion: “That the elements are temporary, removable and that they do not affect the tooth.” The covers, therefore, have to allow us to put them on and take them off easily. “They should not be used for many hours at a time,” he specifies.

The American singer Katy Perry is another of the great fans of this decorative trend in the teeth.


– And why can we only take them for a few hours? With dental aligners, just the opposite is recommended.

– Because they favor the accumulation of bacterial plaque if proper hygiene is not carried out. They can also cause gingivitis. We must not forget that the mouth is the main entrance for many infectious agents. In addition, if they were permanent, by not showing the tooth, we are not aware of whether we have, for example, a cavity, which in the worst case can lead us to lose the piece.

Another matter to take into account is the type of material used in these elements. Metals can cause allergies, so we have to be very careful and go to places where they have experience with suitable materials, that is, “biocompatible”. “And also be careful with the type of glue,” continues Castro.

If we have overcome all this and we already have an ornament in our mouth, the dentist warns us that we have to be extremely careful when washing our teeth and that at the slightest discomfort or sensitivity go to the dentist.

– Does it interfere with your work?

– Yes of course. For example, if we wanted to put braces, it would be impossible.

– Come on, as a specialist, he does not recommend decorating my teeth like this…

– The best decoration of a denture is that it is healthy, that it has natural harmony and with a suitable color.

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