Tooth Piercing Is A Thing, Here’s Everything You Need to Know

By | August 31, 2022

Tooth piercings are decorative pieces of jewelry attached to the surface of your teeth.

Move over grills, tooth piercings are the latest bling for your smile. Tooth piercings are a type of dental jewelry usually small gems or crystals that are glued to your teeth.

While tooth piercings have some risks, it’s generally considered safe when put on correctly. Here are the deets on how tooth piercings work, how it affects your teeth, and how to care for tooth gems.

What is a tooth piercing? 

Tooth piercings aren’t actually piercings, and the jewelry is not drilled into teeth. Instead, tooth gems are affixed to the tooth’s enamel with glue or cement. Most piercings are attached to the front teeth and away from the gum line.

Oral jewelry comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and styles. Some popular options include:

  • rubies
  • crystals
  • diamonds
  • sapphires
  • cubic zirconia

Now, you might wonder why someone would want a gemstone on their tooth. And the answer is simple: because it’s cool AF! Another perk is that they don’t have to be permanent. Semi-permanent piercings can last for years, but temporary piercings only last up to six weeks.

Bonus: Some peeps dig that the jewels can fill small tooth gaps or draw attention away from dental irregularities. In one study, researchers also noted that tooth jewelry can mask the appearance of white spot lesions.

female with a tooth piercing
Javier Díez/Stocksy United

Are tooth gems actually safe?

Tooth piercings tend to be safe, but there are some potential probs to keep in mind. One concern is the procedure can permanently change the tooth’s surface.

Other possible risks include:

  • tooth loss
  • lip irritation
  • tooth fracture
  • gum recession
  • plaque buildup
  • tooth sensitivity
  • allergic reaction
  • aspiration (when you inhale the piercing)

For these reasons, the American Dental Association (ADA) advises against getting cosmetic tooth gems and jewelry.

Some peeps also claim that tooth piercings can give you bad breath. But we’re not 10/10 sure if that’s legit.

How does a tooth piercing procedure work? 

When done correctly, tooth piercing procedures are quick and painless. Here’s what to expect at your appointment.

  • Preparation. Your provider will thoroughly clean your tooth.
  • Composite application. A composite resin and bonding agent will be applied to the area where the jewelry will be placed.
  • Placement. The gem or jewel will be secured to the composite.
  • Setting. A special light helps the composite harden, which attaches the jewelry to the tooth. This takes 20 to 60 seconds. After that, you’re good to go!

Tooth piercing aftercare tips

Once your tooth gem is in place, all you have to do is take care of it. Here are some tips to keep your piercing in place:

  • Switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Try not to touch or play with your jewel.
  • Don’t brush your teeth too vigorously around the jewelry.
  • Avoid super sticky foods like gumtoffeelicorice, or caramels.
  • Say no to harsh products like whitening strips or dental bleaching kits. They can decrease your tooth piercing’s lifespan.

How do you remove a tooth piercing?

Temporary tooth jewels will fall off on their own. But, semi-permanent gems should be removed by a dentist. They will make sure that your tooth’s enamel isn’t damaged in the process.

That said, do not try to scrape or scratch your tooth piercing off. Trust us.

Frequently asked questions

Does a tooth piercing hurt?

Nope! A tooth piercing shouldn’t hurt. However, it can take a bit to get used to it. You may experience some minor discomfort on the inside of your lips for a few days.

How long does a tooth piercing last?

Tooth piercings can last from 6 weeks to years — it depends on the adhesive used to seal the jewelry to the tooth’s surface.

How much does a tooth piercing cost?

The tooth piercing procedure itself usually ranges from $25 to $100. It will also likely cost you more if you more visit a dentist who applies tooth gems. Pro tip: Be sure to talk to your provider about their rates beforehand.

BTW, tooth piercings are cosmetic, so your insurance will unlikely cover the bill.

Where can I get a tooth piercing done?

You can get a tooth piercing performed at a piercing parlor or dental office. Just keep in mind that not all places offer this service, so it’s a good idea to call ahead.

How much do teeth jewels cost?

Tooth jewels made of inexpensive materials can cost about $20. But higher gems usually start around $50, and the price can go way up depending on the type of jewelry you use. For example, a 24k solid gold tooth gem, with a stone, starts at about $100. A genuine diamond or ruby will also cost more than a cubic zirconia stone.

You can find lots of high-quality tooth piercing jewelry online. You might also find some options at piercing salons or jewelry stores.

Bottom line

Tooth piercings are gems or small pieces of jewelry attached to the tooth’s surface. They can last from 6 weeks to years. Folks like them because they look cool, are affordable, and don’t pose any significant health risks.

The procedure itself should be totally painless. It’s not an actual piercing, so you don’t have to worry about needles or drills. However, it’s super important you go to an expert provider like a dentist or a licensed piercer. This can reduce your risk of symptoms like tooth fractures, lip irritation, or gum recession.

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