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Dental Jewelry: the History of Diamonds on Teeth

If diamonds really are a girl’s best friend, how many ways is a girl willing to showcase a jewel-obsession?  

Sure, rings and earrings can be beautiful, but they aren’t necessarily unique. And how about those guys out there who are just as into diamonds? 

Dental Jewelry: the History of Diamonds on Teeth
Dental mouth mirror near healthy white woman teeth with precious stone on it

If you are looking for something out of the ordinary, what do you think about the trend of embellishing teeth with precious stones? While cosmetic dentists admit that this practice hasn’t become mainstream (and we have our reasons to advise against it in many cases), look no further than celebrity dentists in Los Angles to see how quickly this practice is growing.  

Not everyone in Arlington has jumped on the bandwagon yet, but learning about the history of tooth embellishment can help put this curious practice in perspective. If you are interested in learning more about the procedure, feel free to ask Dr. Marchbanks to give you the scoop at your next appointment. 

Historical perspective 

Some of the first teeth embellishers to adhere stems and other materials to teeth were Mayan dentists. The Mayans decorated teeth with jade, turquoise, gold and hematite. This process involved first drilling holes into the teeth and then using adhesives like plant sap to attach the jewels. 

This practice of adorning teeth (usually to signify a coming of age or other significant milestones) happened cross-culturally through about the 1500s. Today, the reason for placing diamonds on the teeth is more likely to be as a symbol of status or as a counter-cultural statement. 

What is the process of applying dental diamonds? 

There are two popular ways cosmetic dentists place the diamonds and other gems today. We highly advise never to consider a non-dental setting (like a tattoo parlor), because a jewel is simply glued to the tooth without ensuring a flush application with the tooth’s surface. This could cause inner lip pain and catching as food moves through your mouth and around the gem. 

In a professional dental setting, the diamond or gem-bonding process involves attaching one or more diamonds to the teeth in a manner that is similar to dental bonding for a filling, or even using the adhesive most commonly used for braces. The jewels are usually placed up front where everyone can see them, slightly towards the edge of a smile, or on the bottom teeth where they are more discrete.  

Problems with dental adornments 

If you are considering a diamond or gem, it’s crucial to learn about the possible issues that can go along with it. 

First, be prepared for it to set you back financially. Some cosmetic procedures are covered by insurers, but a tooth gem is unlikely to be among them. And while these numbers aren’t normal, some celebrities have spent upwards of $150,000 bedazzling their teeth! 

Second, clinical issues that can arise include discoloration of the area surrounding the tooth. This generally occurs when the stone is superficially glued to the tooth. This glue can damage the enamel, which can lead to significant oral health issues including infection and losing the tooth. 

And finally, a foreign object stuck to your tooth is a great place for food particles to get stuck or lodged. Even with meticulous brushing and flossing, small particles can remain. This can lead to tooth decay. Before choosing to embellish your teeth with diamonds, it is important to do you research, starting with a quick call to Mark C. Marchbanks D.D.S

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