Tooth appearance has increasingly become synonyms with beauty itself. An ever-emerging market of dental products and procedures have emerged that are aimed at enhancing our smiles. A wide, bright smile has always been associated with beauty but it seems that niche fashion trends are now also infiltrating the dental world, much to the detriment of oral hygiene and health. While popular dental products were previously limited to those that promote a healthy smile through a regular whitening regime others are more obscure and precarious.Tooth jewellery or tooth piercing as it is becoming coined is a trend that is rapidly gaining traction in the mainstream, despite the associated risks. To facilitate the growing demand, tooth gem companies are growing in number around the world.
Tooth jewellery is a product of body art that has long been a staple used for self-expression and individualism. Body art predominantly follows fashion proclivities of the time, and as tooth appearance becomes more important in the beauty world, the fashion of tooth art has followed. While some may consider tooth jewellery to be an innovative step forward in the dentistry world, others have raised valid concerns over the long-term consequences this procedure may have.
Tooth jewellery refers to the attachment of stones or jewels to the surface of a tooth or teeth. The chosen jewels or stones are glued with an adhesive that may be temporary or permanent depending on the glue. The tooth enamel is prepped in the lead up to the procedure and conditioned to prepare for the adhesive. A more permanent option is a drilling procedure where a small incision is made to accommodate the gem. This practice is usually undertaken by a piercer or tooth gem consultant. The gluing application only takes around ten to fifteen minutes, making it a lucrative business model for companies offering the service. The more permanent options vary in time, but can also be done quite quickly, despite the associated risks.
While the procedure may seize to incur any serious implications for many, for some tooth gems can pose a serious health risk. To begin with, the conditioning process used to prepare the enamel for the process can cause permanent damage to the surface of the teeth. For a gem that is permanent, a hole is drilled into the surface of the tooth and the gem nestled in the space. This method can only be undertaken by a professional and has the biggest health risks associated with it. Not only is it not advisable to drill any part of your teeth, but the permanency of the gem can lead to early onset decay. Another common occurrence with the drilling method is that the gem eventually falls off the tooth leaving a unsightly hole. This is not only hard to reverse but may be costly in the long run. Additionally, the teeth adjacent to the jewellery may become chipped or eroded leading to oral injections and scarring.
Another variation of tooth jewellery application is gem home-kits that allow you to complete the look at home. Speciality glue and your chosen gem comes in the kit alongside specific application instructions. With this method, having a sterilized environment is of paramount importance as bacteria can easily be transferred into the oral cavities. Brushing, flossing and rinsing with a disinfected agent is recommended before attempting to glue the gem on. Infection and scarring will likely result if the area is not properly cleaned. DIY home gem-kits are not recommended. Aside from the risks associated with the application process, without an initial consultation with a professional there’s no way to know if you are a viable candidate for tooth jewellery. Also, there’s no way to authenticate the quality of the jewels and glue provided in the kits. The less permanent application option is a safer one, but not devoid of risk altogether. When a gem is glued onto the enamel as opposed to pierced, there is no telling how long the gem will remain attached. It’s always advised to ensure you do not have an allergy or reaction to the adhesive being used. Certain kinds of glue used to apply tooth gems may case adverse reactions like inflammation. A dental professional should provide gems and glue that causes no side-effects and will be able to determine if your able to safely undergo the procedure. With the proper application, no pain or discomfort should occur. Only a registered dental professional can fully guarantee a safe application and any other measures should be met with caution.