Dental jewelry is very popular in a wide range of options such as teeth grills, oral piercings and tongue splitting. The trendy “bling” has been around for thousands of years in many different forms, but just because it is a common practice doesn’t mean it is safe, as dental jewelry can be hazardous to a person’s health.

Dental Jewelry Risks

Dental jewelry such as teeth grills snap onto the teeth and comes in varying forms of metal, plastic or gemstones such as diamonds. They have a high risk of several health issues because food and bacteria can get trapped within the grills causing gum infections, irritations, cavities, cuts and more. Grills are made of a variety of materials and oftentimes they can be made of non-precious metal materials that dentists have concerns over as they can cause severe irritation or allergic reactions for those who wear grills.

Dental Jewelry Types

Besides teeth grills, other dental jewelry such as oral piercings like tongue, lips, cheeks and uvula piercings can cause things like infections, blood poisoning and blood clots to name a few. More serious issues such as potentially life threatening bleeding, nerve damage and restricted air flow from tongue swelling have also been seen in greater quantities as dental jewelry becomes more and more popular.

As a whole, dental jewelry can present other problems as well such as cracked or chipped teeth from the continuous contact with the dental jewelry. Emergency rooms for years have had repeated deaths and serious life threatening issues arise from incidents where people with oral piercings have choked on studs, barbells or hoops that have slipped free from their piercings as well.

How to Mitigate the Risks

With all the risks involved in dental jewelry, many still choose to have dental jewelry in their mouths. For those who do, it is vital that a certain standard be upheld for dental jewelry and a serious regimen of oral hygiene be maintained to keep the inherent risks of dental jewelry as low as possible. Some important practices for dental jewelry include:

  • Teeth grills and other dental jewelry made to be removable rather than permanent so that they can be properly cleaned daily to ward off a build-up of food and bacteria in the mouth.
  • Purchasing dental jewelry and having them put in by trained professionals such as dentists or people licensed to perform piercings and to only choose dental jewelry that are comprised of materials that are FDA approved to protect the mouth from damage and other health risks.
  • Limiting the time dental jewelry is worn to reduce the risks of health issues.
  • Removing dental jewelry before eating.
  • Paying attention to any pain, swelling or redness and seeking immediate medical help for a diagnosis.

Bottom Line

There’s no doubt that dental jewelry can be dangerous to your dental health. We certainly advise against it. However, we know that there will be people that are going to do it anyway. If that’s you, enjoy it, but do the smart thing and take the proper precautions to ensure that you’re doing the least damage possible to your mouth.

Cory Kemp is the founder and chief editor of He's committed to providing consumers with helpful tips for saving money at the dentist. Follow me on Google +