Ancient Dental Accessories in the Modern Era
People like to make statements. That’s one of the reasons that hairstyles, tattoos, and fashion trends become so popular. It’s not surprising that adding a trendy look to your teeth might gain a following. One of those ongoing trends is the use of grills (also called grillz or fronts). Grills are tooth covers that are typically made of precious metals or encased jewels. Many individuals use removable versions, but the more adventurous create permanent options.
A Brief History of Dental Grills
The first official case of such dental wear comes from a people called the Etruscans. They lived in Italy around 800 B.C.E. and continued for 600 years before the Romans conquered them. Archaeologists discovered about twenty examples of Etruscan skulls with their teeth woven with gold wire and rings bonded together. About a thousand years later, the Mayans started making fashion statements with pieces of jade, placed into holes deliberately drilled into their teeth. Many of their ancestors in South America carry on similar dental fashions. Dig sites show that Vikings in Sweden wore versions of grills around 900 A.D. and Filipino cultures had gold on their teeth around the 1300’s. Kabayan people have traditionally worn gold bands called chakang ever since that same time period.
In the 1970’s, grills became popular in certain sectors of American culture — especially in New York City and its surroundings. Once the 1980’s came around, hip-hop and rap celebrities started showing off a gold tooth or two. Then a popular song in 2005 called “Grillz” revitalized the fashion practically overnight. Since then, other individuals in entertainment or sports have shown off their grills. As a result, their fans have often followed suit.
Are Grills Safe?
Most grills are merely for decorative purposes, a snap-on cover for a tooth or two. Even so, they often pose a danger to oral health. If worn while eating, bits of food, plaque, and bacteria typically get in between the grill and your teeth, where brushing and flossing can’t dislodge them. It’s very important to remove the grills often to clean them regularly. Not only that, but prolonged use of grills made from non-precious metals could irritate your gum tissue or cause allergic reactions. Many grill manufacturers do not have any dental training or expertise, which means they likely don’t know what’s compatible with your oral health. Grills may also lead to gum recession or wear of the opposing teeth.
Note: it is never a good idea to attempt making a grill permanent. Trying to fasten a grill to your teeth using super glue, epoxy, or any other bonding agent is a definite health risk.
Is This Fad for You?
Nevertheless, you might be interested in placing some “bling” where a tooth used to be, or perhaps you decide this fashion is just what you’re looking for. Please discuss the issue with the Yuba City Dentistry Group first. We can guide you in finding the best options and materials for your look. We might even know a few professionals to recommend for the procedure. But realistically, the Yuba City Dentistry Group helps you get a smile that outshines precious metals. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online to discuss your options. You won’t need gold or silver when you have a great set of pearly whites!