Semi-permanent tooth gems can also be safely removed by a dentist if you change your mind or want to switch up the design. “The gem is simply polished off along with any adhesive on the tooth,” says Dr. Rajpal. As for permanent tooth gems, though, be warned that removing a permanent tooth gem that was inserted into a tooth will leave a hole. “This hole will then need to be filled in with a white filling material that is color-matched to the existing shade of the tooth,” adds Dr. Rajpal.

Are tooth gems safe?

If you ask Dr. Apa, tooth gems are purely an accessory. “They’re a very specific aesthetic choice because they don’t offer the restorative benefits that come with veneers or crowns,” he says. On top of not offering any benefits, there are a few dental risks that come with getting a set of gems. 

“Tooth gems can trap plaque and create places for stray food particles and harmful bacteria to hide,” Dr. Kantor explains. Needless to say, keeping the gem clean and practicing good oral hygiene is essential if you want to avoid gum inflammation, decay, or other dental issues. Alongside regular flossing, Dr. Apa recommends brushing twice a day with a non-abrasive toothpaste and soft bristle sonic toothbrush “because the vibration offers a deeper clean and dislodges food stuck to the gemstone,” he says.

The bottom line? In general, as long as a dentist applies your chosen gem, and you’re taking proper care of your teeth at home, “the risks are minimal,” Dr. Apa says. In the wrong hands, he warns you could end up getting a gem with a rough surface that can cause traumatic lesions on the inside of the lip. “Or if the gem isn’t placed properly, you can break an opposing tooth when you bite down,” he cautions. 

So, I shouldn’t try applying tooth gems at home?

Nope! Advice from dentists hasn’t stopped folks from taking the DIY route with nail art gems and superglue, but it should. “It sounds obvious, but nobody should be ingesting toxic glue,”  insists Dr. Rajpal, who prefers to work with biocompatible materials such as gold and precious or semiprecious stones. “Besides, glue doesn’t properly bond the gem to the tooth structure as well as dental materials,” she explains. “It’s far safer for a tooth gem to be applied by an experienced dentist, using a non-toxic material and polished to avoid any bacterial traps, as it will last longer, be more comfortable and hygienic.”

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