A Safety-First Guide To The Y2K Tooth Gem Trend

Here's why dentists disagree with at-home tooth gem application.


If you thought the renaissance of the Y2K aesthetic stopped at low-rise jeans, skinny brows, and spiky updos, it’s time to think again. Step forward tooth gems, the latest accessory reigning supreme in the behemoth of nostalgic beauty trends

Though generally accredited to the early 2000s, tooth embellishments have long been embedded in Black culture. One of their first appearances dates back to the 1970s, when West Indian communities donned removable grills of gold and silver. Today’s rendition steers clear of mouthfuls of metal, but grills remain a catalyst for the tiny diamantes that encapsulate the tooth gem revival. After celebrities in the likes of Hailey Beiber and Iris Law were caught bedazzling their pearly whites, it was only a matter of time until TikTok devoured the trend.

Painless and semi-permanent, tooth gem application involves sanitizing the tooth, layering it with adhesive, and finally, attaching and curing the gemstone of choice with a UV lamp. Just when we thought the procedure couldn’t get any simpler, TikTok users crafted a DIY shortcut, substituting professional-grade equipment with nail art gems and superglue. 

@thebentist Tooth gems MUST be bad for you…. Right πŸ€” let’s find out! #learnontiktok #tiktokpartner #toothgem #toothgems ♬ original sound - The Bentist

Even when executed at the dentist’s office, tooth gems may well expedite tooth decay. Adding the DIY method to the equation only increases the risk of ingesting toxic ingredients, while damaging the tooth’s enamel. We’ve already forgotten to floss daily, let’s not alarm our dentists further. 

Ahead are dentistry-backed tips on how to make a statement with your teeth safely. Emphasis on the word safely. 

Professionally apply and remove the gem.
Gems tend to fall on their own, but if otherwise, taking another trip to the dentist will save you from a myriad of dental issues.


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Invest in a dependable gem.
The cheapest of options can contain poisonous chemicals, such as lead. For this reason, dentists exclusively offer sterile diamonds and the more affordable Swarovski crystals. 

Use a soft-bristle toothbrush.
Because plaque quickly accumulates around the gem, using a toothbrush that can clean obscure areas is key.

Eat soft foods.
Fortunately, this rule only applies for the first 24 hours, so as not to abrase the adhesive glue. 


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