Dental Grills, Grillz or Fronts: bling tooth jewellery

Dental grills (or dental grillz or fronts) are one of the latest fashion accessories for teeth. Grills are often referred to as bling tooth jewellery and are generally made from metal (either silver, gold or platinum). They can be customised by being encrusted with expensive precious stones and jewels.

What started the trend with dental grills/grillz?
Back in the mid-1980s, Eddie Plein, owner of Eddie's Old Teeth, started the trend when he made gold caps (crowns) for rapper Flava Flav from the rap group Public Enemy. He later began to design bespoke grills for the rap community, with his clientele including Outkast, Ludacris and Lil Jon to name a few. Their popularity has risen as they have gained exposure in hip-hop rap videos with famous wearers including Nelly in his number-one single “Grillz”, Paul Wall who has his own grills business, and Kanye West.

How are grills made?
As with any dental restoration, grills are usually custom-fitted to the teeth, so a dentist will first take an impression of the teeth using an alginate (“dental putty”). This mould will then be used to create a plaster model of the teeth. This model is then used as a guide upon which the grills will be fabricated to fit the teeth precisely. Grills are generally made to be removable so they can clip on and off. Some grills are made by jewellers without a licence to practise dentistry. It is always advisable to see a dentist if you are considering having any work carried out on your teeth, as they are fully qualified to assess your oral health and suitability. In the past, some people have been known to cement the grills to their teeth, which can be destructive and damaging.

The risks and complications
Although no studies have suggested that there are any long-term risks associated with wearing grills, advice from the American Dental Association is to have grills fitted properly by your dentist and not to wear them all the time. They should be removed before eating, you should clean any bacteria and debris from them on a regular basis and brush and floss your teeth every day. If the grills are worn over prolonged periods of time with food and debris trapped underneath, they could cause irritation and create a breeding ground for bacteria and potentially tooth decay and gum disease. Another problem seen with grills is the wearing of the enamel tooth surface and movement of the teeth if they are not fitted properly. Grills made from non-precious base metals (the less expensive or cheaper alternatives) are more likely to cause irritation of the teeth and gums. Always seek advice from your dentist before considering any type of tooth jewellery.       

How much do grills cost?
This depends on many different factors and can cost anywhere from £50 to £50,000 depending on the materials used and precious stones encrusted in them. The sky is the limit with these latest bling fashion accessories.