Is It Time to Get a Tooth Gem?

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When it comes to jewelry, the more sparkle, the better — and that includes adorning teeth. Tooth gems are having a resurgence on TikTok, and many of us know the flashy look is nothing new. In fact, the technique of modifying teeth with jewels dates back to the Mayans and has continued in Hispanic cultures. In the '80s and '90s, it was made especially popular within the Black community, thanks in large part to rappers and hip-hop artists wearing gold caps and grills (aka decorative tooth coverings). Now, a whole new generation of stars — including Hailey Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Adwoa Aboah — is discovering the trend.

A disclaimer: Although it's sometimes called a tooth or dental piercing, nothing is actually pierced when you get a tooth gem. It simply requires attaching a crystal or gem to the tooth's surface with an adhesive, meaning it's an easy (and virtually painless) look to achieve on your own. As is evidenced by TikTok, a bevy of young creators are showcasing their DIY tooth gems at home. The videos were so convincing, in fact, that I also jumped on the bandwagon with a tooth gem of my own. #TikTokMadeMeDoIt, indeed.

The result? Gorgeous, to be sure. But it should be noted that tooth gems and jewelry come with some risks — whether you're attempting the look at home or with a professional. According to Colgate, tooth gems can make your teeth harder to clean, which often leads to plaque buildup. Furthermore, you run the risk of getting food, bacteria, and other debris trapped under or around the jewelry. There's also the potential for enamel damage, staining, chipped teeth, cavities, and periodontal disease, even after the gem is removed. And if you're DIYing, Miracle Smile Dentistry based in Coral Gables, FL, recommends cautiously avoiding allergic reactions to the glue.

If you want to add some shine to your smile, go for it. Just be safe! Keep scrolling to see the trend in action and shop my favorite tooth-gem kits.