Tooth Gems Are All Over Social—But Are They Actually Safe For Your Teeth?

Do tooth gems ruin your teeth?


There are many ways we can harness beauty to express ourselves: tattoos, hair dye, makeup, and now... we have tooth gems. Or should I say, we have tooth gems again, as the glitzy trend once dominated in the late 90s and early 2000s. If youre unfamiliar, tooth gems can best be described as "adornments for our teeth that are semi-permanent and bonded directly to the teeth with dental materials," per dental hygienist and tooth gem specialist Bianca Buchanan.

But, as we know, all that glitters is not always gold. Keep reading for the pros—and potential cons—of tooth gems, straight from Buchanan, tooth gem specialist Clarissa Hurst, and board-certified dentists Bridget Glazarov, DDS, and Ellen Katz, DDS.

What Are Tooth Gems?

Tooth gems, also known as dental gems, are a form of tooth jewelry that can be used to express yourself—think stars, lightning bolts, butterflies, and even the classic double Cs from Chanel. "The application process is non-invasive, utilizing an adhesive that closely mirrors those employed in the attachment of orthodontic appliances, such as braces," explains Glazarov. This means theres no need for any drilling or invasive procedures.

However, even though the gems are removable, its vital to note that the adhesive used in the application process may slightly alter the texture of the tooths surface, potentially making the enamel rougher.

How to Prepare

To prepare for your tooth gem appointment, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure your teeth are clean and free of any cracks, cavities, or dental restorations. Hurst suggests flossing beforehand to ensure optimal cleanliness. Its also helpful to have an idea of what you want in terms of design, colors, and the overall vibe youre going for.

On the day of your appointment, Hurst recommends arriving with a full stomach; you wont be able to eat for one to two hours after the placement. Additionally, its a good idea to bring some water and lip balm or gloss for your post-appointment comfort.

What to Expect

According to Hurst, in terms of the procedure itself, placing tooth gems is a quick process that doesnt take long. You can expect it to be painless, and everything is completely reversible, ensuring no lasting effects. "You should expect to feel the gem for two days to two weeks while you get used to it," says Buchanan. "Eventually, this feeling will just go away."

As for the durability of the gems, crystals typically last around six months to one year, while gold pieces can last up to one year.

Potential Side Effects

"When applied with the correct protocols, the affixation of dental gems should not inflict any harm to your teeth," Glazarov tells us. "Following the placement of the gem, it is essential to meticulously polish away any surplus adhesive, resulting in a pristine, glass-like surface on the tooth." Improper oral hygiene can lead to the accumulation of plaque on these uneven surfaces, potentially escalating into dental caries and periodontal diseases.

Its important to exercise caution and do thorough research when getting tooth gems. If theyre done at a gem bar or with DIY kits using nail glue, there can be some serious side effects. Moreover, if the charm or gem is too large or not applied correctly, it can cause irritation or cuts on the inside of the lip or gums. "To avoid damaging your teeth, you need to find a professional artist who specializes in dental gems," advises Hurst.

DIY tooth gem removal or biting something hard can also lead to side effects. "Improper removal techniques can strip off the top layer of the tooth, exposing the sensitive dentin underneath, leading to discomfort and sensitivity," explains Katz. "Removing the gem incorrectly can also damage the protective outer layer of the tooth." To avoid any problems, it is always recommended to have a dentist assist with the removal or adjustment of tooth gems.

The Cost

You can expect to pay between $60 to $100 for crystal gems and $100 to $180 for gold pieces. Prices for tooth gems can vary depending on the location you choose. Specific designs—such as butterflies or flowers—may have higher set prices, too.


After getting a tooth gem, its crucial to maintain your regular oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing. "Avoid using electric toothbrushes on the tooth with the gem, as the vibrations may cause it to become dislodged," advises Katz. Regular visits to the dentist can help monitor the condition of the gem and ensure its not causing any harm.

If you decide to have a tooth gem removed, it is recommended to consult with a dentist, as they have the necessary tools and expertise to remove it without damaging the enamel. "The removal process involves using a dental tool to gently detach the jewel, followed by careful polishing to eliminate any remaining bonding material or adhesive," explains Katz. "The goal is to remove excess material while preserving the integrity of the enamel and ensuring a smooth surface to prevent plaque buildup."

The Final Takeaway

Tooth gems are a quick and painless way to add pizazz to your everyday look. However, if you choose to get tooth gems, professional dental care is key for both application and removal. Youll want to minimize any potential negative effects on the teet

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