We hardly bat an eye these days when yet another impractical '00s trend comes back to haunt us. But we must say, the internet's latest obsession has our heads turned. The return of Y2k teeth piercings, jewels, gems, whatever you want to call them, has certainly taken us by surprise, giving a whole new meaning to a smile that 'dazzles'.
Spotted on a slew of Gen Z influencers, models and Tiktokers, the microtrend is being ushered back into the mainstream, with FKA Twigs, Iris Law and Hailey Bieber recently making the case for them.
The beauty of teeth jewellery is that it can be as subtle as you wish, with just a microscopic gem in the corner of your incisor, and still make a statement. Or, for the bold at heart, you can opt for patterns, chains or even logos like Adwoa Aboah's Chanel charm.
What are tooth gems?
No, they're not just stickers you can buy at your local dollar store popped onto your incisors. Tooth gems are minuscule jewels and charm accessories for your pearly whites, and they actually have an extensive history.
Teeth jewellery can be traced back to 1800 B.C. with reports of Mayan cultures decorating teeth with jade, turquoise, gold and hematite. A plethora of other instances of teeth decorations has also been recorded around the world, with gold, in particular, being a symbol of wealth and status.
What is the process like?
The good news is that the process is pretty quick and pain-free! Despite looking like a piercing, there are no power tools involved in the process. Your practitioner should be using a teeth-safe bonding agent, like those used for applying orthodontic brackets.
You'll feel strange initially, as you're not used to the addition of something on your teeth, but the charms and gems are generally less than 1mm in thickness so you get used to them after a while, and they don't get in the way of eating or anything else.
How much do tooth gems cost?
Just like with piercings and tattoos, the prices will vary according to what you want and where you go. From our sleuthing, the average price for a single piece can vary from about $40 for a basic rhinestone or charm to $280 for a premium Swarovski crystal jewel.
How long do tooth gems last?
Depending on your preference, you can opt for either temporary versions that last around six weeks, or semi-permanent ones that can last up to a year — which is quite a bit of bang for your buck, if you ask us.
If you do find yourself getting sick of them, though, you can have them professionally removed at any time. What's good to know is that the gems or bonding agent shouldn't leave a trace of damage behind.