It’s been more than a decade since Nelly’s anthem for tooth ornamentation, Grillz. The trend never really flourished, although it did attract some minor attention. But now the early 2000s trend is coming back, and it’s smaller than ever!

Seriously, the trend is being spearheaded by some A-list stars, along with some more minor followers. Although the jewelry is smaller and subtler than ever, the trend is likely to be a big thing this year (although it’s hard to know for how long).

Close-up of open mouth with dental jewelry tooth

Who’s Setting the Trend?

The two main celebs who were out front on this trend actually started last year. Katy Perry was the champion of subtle tooth changes (not like the dramatic change she made to her hair): she has a subtle Nike swoosh fairly far back on her smile (either that, or her hygienist forgot to remove the quality check from her teeth!) The jewelry is so subtle that it had to play second fiddle to a quinoa seed stuck in her teeth.

Kim K’s tooth jewelry also got upstaged in the news, but in her case it’s a little more understandable. Although Kim K doesn’t know how to do anything subtle, her overt display of bling (and cleavage) was overshadowed later that week by the theft of much of her jewelry in Paris.

But in recent months, people seem more like they’re following Perry’s lead with more subtle pieces on their teeth. Hailey Baldwin, for example, has three gems on her teeth. Cara Delevingne has a gold plane and loop on her teeth. And Adwoa Aboah also has a logo on her teeth–a Chanel logo with a crystal. (Do they get paid by sponsors for this?) Perhaps singer Halsey is trying to upstage Katy with a gold star her smile–more more impressive than a simple checkmark!

But Is It Safe?

As with many trends, tooth jewelry isn’t inherently dangerous, if you do it right.

The worst thing to do is to try ordering a kit online or buying one in the store and trying to do it yourself. Some of the kits may contain ingredients that are damaging to your teeth or even toxic.

It’s always best to talk to a dentist before getting something like this done. Even if your dentist won’t add these to your teeth, they can help you understand whether it’s a good idea in your situation. They may even be able to refer you to someone qualified to offer tooth bling.

If you are wanting tooth bling, it might be best to get it added to a dental crown or veneer, especially one you’re getting anyway for other reasons. It’s easier and safer to bond the accent gem or gold to the restoration than to a natural tooth.

And if you do get a gem bonded to your tooth, it’s best not to wear it for too long. Your tooth enamel gets minerals from being bathed in your saliva. When something is bonded to the surface (like brackets from traditional braces), the tooth enamel doesn’t get the minerals it needs and it can turn a chalky white. This is more than a cosmetic problem–it can make your teeth vulnerable to decay.

And while we’re on the subject, it’s important to make sure you’re cleaning properly around your tooth jewelry. They can collect plaque and food that can lead to decay around the decoration. Regular professional cleanings will help you avoid this kind of consequence from your tooth jewelry.

And it’s also possible that tooth jewelry could serve as a focal point for a blow to the tooth, making it more likely to chip or crack. So try to avoid tooth trauma if you have tooth jewelry.

A Beautiful Foundation

Are you thinking about tooth jewelry? If so, it’s important to make sure your teeth are ready for the extra attention they’ll be getting. After all, there are worse things than a quinoa seed that people can spot if they go looking.

Tulsa cosmetic dentist Dr. Meghan Hodges can help you with a smile makeover that will make your teeth a beautiful foundation for whatever jewelry you decide to wear. To learn more about your options, please call (918) 528-3330 today for an appointment.