Back in the late 90s and early 2000s, you may have noticed a trend where entertainers and media icons used fashion accessories to amplify the radiance of their teeth. Among these attractions was something that caught the mainstream public off guard; tooth gems.
As the years moved forward, we began to see individuals drop the gems and choose a radiant-white smile instead. They achieve this look by using strips, specialized mouthwash and cleaning services from their dentist.
But now that 2020 is here and you’re stuck inside, you may have noticed a resurgence of this once-popular fashion statement. The question still remains: Do these small gems cause any real or permanent damage to your teeth? If so, how can you avoid these side effects?
Tooth Gem Styles
Before we discuss the potential harm that tooth gems could cause for your teeth, it’s best to understand the various styles on the market.
The selling point of these stones is that it allows you to express your creativity and your outside-the-box personality. While you may choose simple diamond-Esque accessories to capture the natural light in a room and redirect it to your smile, there are no limitations with tooth gems.
Think of tooth gems like a piercing that you would get on your lip, nose or ear. The only limiting factor when using these accessories is the designs and styles that you can find online or in a local store.
The Bad News
Although these styles may excite you, heed our warning: Tooth gems can be very detrimental for your dental health and the integrity of your teeth.
Each gem is attached to the surface of your tooth with harsh adhesives that keep the product from moving while you talk, eat and move your lips. These adhesives, when removed, can pull off the outermost layer of the tooth, also known as the enamel.
Your enamel, in a general sense, acts as the bodyguard for the sensitive parts of your tooth that aren’t visible to the naked eye. It keeps out unwanted bacteria, food buildup and other particles that can cause cavities and decay. When you remove the enamel, you’re inviting these harmful additives to attack your tooth and cause extensive damage. To put it bluntly, keeping your enamel healthy and intact is the key to good dental health.
In conjunction with this, food and bacteria can accumulate around the edges of your tooth gem. When you place gems or rhinestones on your teeth, it creates a small microscopic gap between the stone and the surface of your tooth.
Here is a list of side effects that can occur when you leave food particles on your teeth for too long:
- Increased risk of cavities
- Holes in your tooth
- Gum infection
- Foul-smelling breath
- Tooth loss
- Chronic headaches
- Jaw discomfort
This small space becomes a hotbed for particle buildup, plaque, food residue and drink ingredients. When you leave these particles on your tooth throughout the day, they tear through your enamel like a knife going through hot butter.
Gems also take up a large amount of real estate on your teeth. When you go to brush our clean your teeth after your day is over, the gem will, inevitably, block off certain parts of the tooth. Since these areas are unable to be cleaned, you inadvertently create a haven for bacteria and germs to thrive. If you leave a non-surgical tooth gem in place for, say, a few weeks, you will inevitably begin to notice the signs of tooth decay.
Proper Removal of a Tooth Gem
If you currently have a tooth gem on your teeth and want to remove it, you must use extreme caution. As stated earlier, improper removal of your tooth gem can damage the surface of your teeth, which requires extensive dental work to alleviate the problem. Don’t fall for the gels and creams that you can purchase over the counter or on the internet; get it done professionally!
Our advice is that you seek medical assistance from your local dentist. By using their services, you gain peace of mind knowing that your tooth gem will be removed under the hands of a medically-trained professional.
Also, dentists have specialized products that will remove the adhesive from the surface of the tooth. Whether your gem is topical or surgically-applied, you need the careful eye of the dentist to adequately remove the accessories.