Last year, grillz and tooth gems experienced a renaissance, thanks to the handiwork of emerging jewellers and designers who sunk their teeth into creating bold, experimental and irresistible designs for our gnashers. Instagram has become a hotbed for tooth gems and grill-seekers, with Pinterest even predicting a massive uptick in body bling and embellishments. Searches for “tooth gems” skyrocketed 85 per cent on the platform at the tail-end of last year.
Meanwhile, jewellers and grillz designers like Clova Rae Smith and Milk & Honey are continuing to push the boundaries of dental art, with punters requesting ever unique custom sets as a sparkly addition to their looks.
Tooth gems and grillz have also become democratised. They’re available at the touch of a button, at a variety of price-points, and function as a personalised piece of self-expression. If the process seems daunting, don’t worry. We’ve put together a practical guide to every step of the process, from which jewellers to hit up to aftercare. Say cheese.
PICK YOUR BLING
This is the best and most personal part. Here are some of our favourite grill-makers and tooth gem appliers in the biz, in case you need some inspiration to get started: custom grillz provider London Grillz, who have blinged out the mouths of Jorja Smith and Rita Ora; New York City-based father-son duo Gabby Elan; avant-garde designer Juanita Care; London tooth gem royalty Chai Beauty, Suki Ice, and Central Saint Martins grad and sustainable jeweller Clova Rae Smith.
THE PRICE IS RIGHT
Grillz can range anywhere from roughly £75 for plain or window tooth caps to well over £500, depending on what you’re getting done. Particularly intricate designs with precious stones, or a full set of gold or silver grillz will cost more than a single cap, for example.
Tooth gems are a little more affordable, although prices vary slightly depending on your jeweller of choice. You can expect to pay as little as £25 for a single Swarovski crystal, with costs steadily increasing depending on the shape and material of your selected design, all the way up to £105 if you’re feeling fancy.
Once you’ve got your grillz booked in, it’s time to mould those pearly whites. Usually, jewellers and grill-makers will send you an impression so that you can take a mould of your teeth at home, complete with instructions on what to do.
If your jeweller hasn’t directed you to a moulding kit, there are plenty of affordable ones to snap up online. Clova Rae Smith, whose grillz are all made from recycled materials, includes a handy how-to video on her page in case you require a step-by-step tutorial for getting this bit out of the way. Once you’ve shipped your mould off, it’ll only be a matter of weeks before you can finally get your mitts on your new grillz.
As for tooth gems, the process is pretty similar to getting braces. If you’ve been genetically blessed with great teeth and don’t know what that’s like, it involves dental bonds and a bit of UV light – pain free and usually over within 10 minutes. A word of warning: tooth gems can’t be worn with Invisalign and they don’t stick onto veneers.
Rinse your grillz everyday, for God’s sake. After taking them out, wash with warm soapy water and follow with a rinse. You can polish them regularly with a jewellery cloth to get rid of any tarnish and a soft toothbrush should do the trick if you get any nasty bits of food stuck inside them. You can also drop off your grillz at a local jewellers for a proper deep scrub. So fresh, so clean.
Tooth gems are semi-permanent and can last months or years, depending on your diet, mouth acidity and the level of aftercare you commit to once they’ve been stuck on. According to Chai beauty, it’s possible to remove tooth gems at home using a cuticle clipper, but if you’ve got any doubts, a dentist can buff them off. Finally, limiting your intake of fizzy drinks is integral to the longevity of your tooth gems. Dentist’s orders, we’re afraid.