From ancient times, cultures around the world have altered their teeth for various purposes. For example, the Mayan civilization placed jade or other gems on their front teeth and also filed their teeth into different shapes as a rite of passage before acknowledgment as an adult. In recent years, American youth have increasingly modified their teeth with tooth gems, dental grills, or decorative gold crowns on front teeth. Below are eight dangers dental professionals have pointed out about teeth jewelry.
To learn more about keeping your teeth and gums healthy, schedule an appointment at Trident Dental for a comprehensive oral examination and professional teeth cleaning.
1. Tooth Decay
Teeth jewelry, such as gems glued to teeth, prevent proper tooth brushing. As a result, food particles accumulate around the jewelry. As saliva mixes with these particles, dental plaque and bacteria build up. Acid by-products from these bacteria remove microscopic amounts of tooth enamel, creating a dental cavity. Tooth gems are also being placed on young people who are very susceptible to dental decay because of soft drinks and increased sugary sports and energy drinks. Tooth jewelry, such as grills, has been reported in the scientific literature to cause rampant decay in adolescents.
2. Chipped Teeth
Your teeth are at increased risk of being chipped while placing or removing jewelry in your mouth. Oral jewelry can also come in contact with a tooth or change your bite enough to chip one or more teeth.
3. Damaged Enamel
Teeth jewelry, such as gems, are attached to the enamel surface with glue. Since many of these gems require removal and re-gluing every three months, there is the risk of damaging the enamel each time a gem is replaced. Additionally, you have risks of exposure to toxicity and enamel erosion from the glue’s ingredients.
4. Gum Disease
Some oral jewelry promotes gum disease by interfering with optimal tooth brushing and flossing techniques. This can result in gum inflammation that can progress to periodontal disease.
5. Gum Recession
The American Dental Association warns that you risk gum recession (pulling away from the teeth) that causes hypersensitivity to hot and cold because of teeth jewelry. Since gum recession exposes the roots of teeth, there is an increased risk of tooth decay.
6. Interference With Dental X-Rays
Dentists rely on dental radiographs to diagnose oral problems, such as cavities between teeth and bone loss around teeth. However, jewelry in your mouth can block the x-rays and obscure areas that dentists cannot inspect during an oral examination.
7. Metal Allergy
Many pieces of oral jewelry are made of base or non-precious metals that can irritate gums and cause allergic reactions.
All oral jewelry can become loose and swallowed, which may cause damage to the esophagus, stomach, or intestines. Even more dangerous is the possibility of inhaling jewelry, which can become lodged in the trachea and interfere with your airway. Also, you risk aspirating oral jewelry into the lungs, which can require surgical removal.
If you are considering an oral piercing or tooth gem, contact Trident Dental and schedule a consultation with one of our oral health care professionals. We can help you discover better options for your teeth, such as braces, veneers, or professional teeth whitening.