What Are Grillz? Types, Costs & Potential Complications

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Table of Contents

  1. Popularity of Grillz
  2. What are Grillz?
  3. Different Types
  4. Are They Safe?
  5. Dental Complications
  6. Where are They Ordered From?
  7. How are They Fitted and Made?
  8. Costs
  9. Grillz Care
  10. References

Grillz, also known as grillz or fronts are ornamental and decorative tooth coverings. Grillz are usually silver or gold, and they sometimes include jewels or other adornments. 

These dental fashion statements usually snap on and off a single tooth or multiple teeth, although some people have had their smile permanently altered with gold crowns and attachments.

Popularity of Grillz

In recent history, grillz were introduced into the mainstream by rappers and star athletes. St. Louis hip hop star Nelly’s “Grillz” video in 2005 was a memorable highlight of this era. It featured closeups of over 50 grills and a cameo by famed grillz jeweler Johnny Dang. 

Today, the reach of grillz has extended to the world of fashion, influencers, and fine art. Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, and Madonna have all shown off dental bling. Grillz have also made appearances at New York’s fashion week and in Vogue Magazine.  

Grillz are highly unique, customizable, and attention-grabbing, so it’s no wonder why so many people are interested in expressing their personal style with these trendy attachments. Still, even the most adventurous of fashionistas may be unsure about the safety of grillz or have questions about their impact on long-term dental and oral health. We cover the specifics below.

What are Grillz?

Grillz are tooth covers that can be worn over teeth. Most often, these covers are removable and “snap” over one tooth or multiple teeth. They are usually made of real or fake gold, silver, or diamonds, although precious stones and other materials are growing in popularity as well. 

There are also more permanent grillz options. Someone might have a permanent grill applied to cover a broken tooth or simply to have a more long-term decorative option. A decorative grillz-style crown might also be installed by a dentist.

Different Types of Grillz

Today, there is a wide assortment of grillz available. While classic “bling” styles are still very popular, more subdued and unexpected looks are also growing in popularity. Different types of grillz include the following:

  • “Iced out” or gem-encrusted: These showstopping grillz include plenty of bling and precious stones (particularly diamonds or fake diamonds) or crystals, usually laid over shiny silver or gold. Honeycomb grillz feature small diamonds set into holes on gold or silver teeth. 

  • Artsy: Many artists are seeking to make their own mark on the world of grillz with fresh and surprising takes on dental accessories. Some are forgoing the bling altogether and expressing a more feminine perspective with softer and more intricate designs and unique color palettes. 

  • Sparkle or diamond-dust: These grillz have less bling but plenty of shimmer from a “diamond-dust” or sparkle finish. 

  • Open face: Metal frames border the tooth, leaving the white center exposed.

  • “Just the cuts” grillz: These grillz feature just the metal (usually real or fake silver or gold). The cuts in the metal (also known as deep cut grillz) might feature engravings or customized or patterned metal designs.

  • Filling gaps: A bar of metal is placed between any gap opening in the bite.

  • Gemstone grillz: These are grillz that are focused not on the shine and sparkle, but on the natural beauty of stones like emeralds, rubies, and amethyst. Opals are also very trendy.

  • Fang grillz: These grillz are designed to look like fangs in the mouth. 

  • Solid grillz: These are solid, smooth gold over a single tooth or multiple teeth. 

  • Trillion cut: Tiny cuts are engraved into solid metal for a dramatic bling effect.

  • Bars: A horizontal bar is placed across teeth. This design is highly customizable. The bar can be adorned in jewels, or the metal can be cut to display a design or lettering.

Are Grillz Safe?

According to the American Dental Association, there has been limited research on the safety of grillz. While there haven’t been any studies proving that grillz are unsafe, there haven’t been any studies showing that they are safe.

A properly fitted grill worn as instructed for a night out may be unlikely to cause any dental problems. However, long-term use of an ill-fitting or improperly cared for grill piece may be a different story.

Before ordering or wearing a grill, your safest option is to speak to your general dentist about the decision and any concerns you have.

Can Grillz Cause Any Dental Complications?

While the research is limited, many dentists may see plenty of potential dental complications from the use of grillz, including these:

  • Increased risk of tooth decay and gum problems: Any time an accessory is attached to the tooth, there is the increased possibility of food particles, plaque bacteria, and damaging acids accumulating between the accessory and the tooth. This can lead to tooth decay and gum problems, which are the leading causes of most oral health problems.

  • Bad breath: Trapped particles and bacteria can also lead to bad odors in the mouth.

  • Irritation or damage from glues: Someone ordering grillz off the internet or attempting to attach the accessories themselves may use problematic glues, which can cause gum irritation or damage the enamel of the teeth.

  • Tooth abrasion: If an improperly fitted grill attachment repeatedly brushes against or scrapes the tooth or gums, it can create a very damaging pattern of movement, causing long-lasting damage to the protective layer of the tooth or even causing tooth or gum damage and decay.

  • Allergies: There is a risk of someone being allergic to the metals or jewels used in a grill attachment.

  • Alignment and bite problems: If a grillz accessory doesn’t fit properly, it can cause a person’s bite to become out of alignment. This can cause teeth to shift into problematic positions, affecting the whole smile or bite and potentially causing long-term crowding or jaw issues.

  • Chewing and speaking: If a grillz accessory doesn’t blend seamlessly into your bite and smile, it can make chewing and speaking difficult.

  • Clenching and jaw pain: If a grillz accessory doesn't fit properly or if it is worn excessively, it may result in pain, soreness, or headaches.

Where are Grillz Ordered From?

Most people order grillz from a trusted retailer or jeweler who specializes in grillz. Today, there are many grillz providers on the market. These include popular grillz designers as well as celebrated online shops and aspiring artists on Etsy.

How are Grillz Fitted and Made?

In order for a grillz attachment to properly fit your teeth, the process should start with having an impression of your teeth taken. This can be done in person with many retailers and jewelers. Online shops and artists will usually send a home impression kit that allows you to easily provide them with your impressions.

From the impression kit or molding, the artist or retailer will usually make a clay mold and then customize the grillz to suit your bite and smile.

How Much Do Grillz Cost?

The price of the grillz will depend on many factors, including the brand of grills, the designer, the materials used, and the process used in designing it. Someone may be able to find very inexpensive grillz online for around $100, but these may be from untrustworthy retailers who are not customizing the grill to someone’s unique smile.

A standard “starter” gold six-tooth grill might cost around $250 to $500. The addition of jewels, finishes, and designs can add considerably to the total. Famed grillz designer Dang & Co. claim their most expensive grillz sale went for around $30,000.

How Do You Care for Grillz?

Your grill designer should instruct you on the best way to clean your specific grillz attachment. Some grillz may feature delicate stones and metal that require specific cleaning instructions.

However, regardless of the materials, grillz should be cleaned daily if they’re regularly worn. This is to ensure that any plaque-forming bacteria or particles are removed in order to prevent buildup, which can lead to decay, gum irritation, or bad breath.

Grillz will likely need to be cleaned daily with water and a specific soap or detergent. A toothbrush or detailing brush should be used to clean any crevices and remove any debris or bacteria buildup.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.