This year continues to bring back even the most dubious trends of the 90s and 2000s. Following the velour tracksuits and children’s hairpins, jewelry for the teeth gained a new round of popularity. We will tell you how long ago people thought of decorating their teeth and how they do it today.
From the Aztecs to Kim Kardashian
Like other ways of decorating the body – hair dyeing, tattoos, beads, earrings, bracelets – the practice of changing teeth appeared in antiquity. The Maya and Aztecs filed their teeth, giving them a certain shape that could tell about the status and belonging to a particular tribe. Even then, incrustation appeared – a hole was cut out in the tooth, into which precious stones were inserted.
As a religious rite, some tribes of Indians sharpened their teeth, while the inhabitants of Bali, on the contrary, sawed-off six of their front teeth, making them straight. In African tribes, some of the front teeth were removed for decorative purposes.
From antiquity to almost the middle of the 19th century, the Japanese maintained the tradition of blackening their teeth – ohaguro. Initially, the Japanese painted their teeth with the juice of herbs and fruits, until the Chinese monk Ganjin brought them a recipe for a mixture for ohaguro. She looked like black varnish.
At different times, the ohaguro ceremony was either held on the day of adulthood and showed that a girl could already be married off, it was associated with age and was common mainly among married women. It was believed that the more resistant paint on a wife’s teeth, the more faithful she is to her husband.
In modern times, hip-hop culture has returned to fashion to decorate teeth. The trend began in the 80s in the United States and by 2000 had gone beyond the rap scene and became mainstream.
In the 90s, Madonna sparkled with a gold tooth in the Erotica video, later, in 2013, she will try on grills. Since the early 2000s, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Rita Ora, Miley Cyrus, Cara Delevingne, Kim Kardashian, Pink, Lana Del Rey, and many other Western stars have appeared with jewelry on their teeth – we do not yet call rappers.
Recently, the trend for dental jewelry has become truly massive. It is already used not only by Hollywood divas, but also by Internet idols, for example, TikTok star Charlie D’Amelio, and ordinary young people who seek to emphasize their individuality.
Grillz is a whole jewelry design that fits over the teeth and can be of any shape and style. A neat, barely noticeable silver or gold border around the edges of the teeth, a metal plate that completely covers several of the front teeth, a grill, an inscription, a complex decoration with precious stones flowers (like in Katy Perry’s Dark Horse clip) – all these are grills. They are made individually for a person’s jaw and can be removable or permanent. You cannot eat or drink in removable grills, they are not recommended to be worn for too long, because they can deform the jaw. In addition, grills require particularly careful hygiene. They can also add defects to speech, but all this does not scare those who want to look truly original.
The principle of this method of decorating teeth has not changed much since the time of the Maya: a hole is drilled in the tooth enamel, where a gem is inserted. Sometimes a stone can close a defect – a small chip or caries. Nowadays, the inlay is used infrequently, all the same, the tooth receives irreversible damage, which not everyone dares to do.
Much easier to inlay stickers. Rhinestones are attached to the teeth; skies are also stones, only more expensive in appearance; stickers similar in principle to translations; twinkles – metal figurines made of gold, silver, or other precious alloys. All these decorations are applied to the tooth using a special gel. Such decor can last six months or even longer, and after removal, it is enough to polish the tooth and cover it with a protective varnish.
Any kind of dental jewelry, even the most harmless, should be done only by a professional dentist. Still, most of these methods are harmful to dental health, and therefore require careful monitoring.