Dental trend spotlight:
Are tooth gems safe?

Tooth gems have surged in popularity, with an 85% increase in Pinterest searches over the last year. These are tiny jewels, typically only a few millimeters in size, that are fixed to the surface of a tooth to offer a unique form of self-expression. There are two types:

Semi-permanent tooth gems

These are applied without drilling to minimize tooth damage. The process is like braces and typically lasts six months to a year.

Permanent tooth gems

These include drilling a hole in the desired location of the gem and fixing a gem to that area. Like its title, this option is permanent.

There are a few things you should consider before adding gems to your teeth. The most important being that you should not use DIY tooth gem kits, which are popular on social media. DIY gem kits pose the most risk to you.

All tooth gems – but especially DIY tooth gems – track plaque and create places for stray food particles and bacteria to hide. Additionally, if a tooth gem falls off, it could potentially chip the enamel. Because of this, dentists should always apply tooth gems. Dentists use non-toxic materials and ensure the gem is polished to prevent bacteria accumulation.

Tooth gems aren’t a new trend

The ancient Maya civilization were the earliest known users of tooth gems, inlaying stones like jadeite, turquoise, quartz, and serpentine into teeth with ancient cements. Interestingly, this practice was not just decorative but also believed to prevent cavities and tooth decay.

Our verdict

Approach with caution. The risk of damaging your enamel, which cannot regenerate or be repaired, if or when the gem falls off is a significant downside. Not to mention the increased risk of cavities, too. And before trying any new viral dental trend, consult your dentist.