If you fancy replacing your pearly-white Hollywood smile with something with more bling, you might be considering a teeth grill.  'Grillz', or 'fronts' as they're colloquially known, are the latest celebrity fad, and one that's fast catching on among the general younger populous.  But before you rush off to the dentist to have the family silver affixed to your choppers, here's the low-down on grillz.

What are 'grillz'?

Grillz are basically just decorative tooth covers.  They're purely cosmetic and don't serve any particular dental purpose.  Grillz can be affixed to the teeth permanently, or they can be temporary and removable. 

This mouth jewellery is usually made of gold, silver or other precious metals and often embellished with gemstones.  Base metal grillz are not recommended as the wearer may experience an allergic reaction.

How are grillz made and fitted?

Ideally, you should have your grill custom-made and fitted by a qualified dentist.  It's important for your comfort and dental health that your grill fits correctly. 

Your dentist will begin by taking an impression of your teeth using dental putty.  The finished mould will be used to create a plaster-cast model of your teeth.  Your grill will then be made to fit the model precisely.  Most grillz are made by jewellers or specialist companies, and your dentist will be able to guide you as to the best supplier to use.

Your grill will be designed to clip on and off.  This is so that you can clean it and maintain your oral health more easily.

Your dentist will not recommend that you have a permanent grill fitted.  However, if you need several crowns fitting, you could opt to have them made of gold.  This would give the same overall effect of a grill, but the crowns would be permanent.

What problems could arise from wearing a grill?

You should not wear your grill 24/7! 

Food and other bits of debris can easily become trapped between the grill and your teeth.  This provides a perfect environment for bacteria.  The acids they produce cause plaque to form which could result in tooth decay and gum disease.  You could also end up with a bad case of halitosis (bad breath).  It's also possible that your grill could abrade on your cheeks, tongue, gums and opposing teeth, causing painful ulceration.

To prevent these problems, thoroughly clean your grill at least once every day to get rid of any bacteria and residual food.  Even though your grill may be made of some sort of precious metal, never use any sort of metal polish or jewellery cleaner to clean it!  Ask your dentist for advice on what to use.

It's recommended that you take your grill off before eating and before you go to bed.  Even though your grill may feel comfortable at first, there is a danger that it could wear away your tooth enamel if worn for excessively long periods.  This could lead to toothache and even headaches. 

It's even possible that wearing a grill continually could cause your teeth to move, causing ongoing dental problems and even misaligned or crooked teeth.  If you have gemstones embedded into your grill, there's a chance that they may rub on the inside of your lips, resulting in painful ulcers.

In conclusion

Grillz are undoubtedly the 'in-thing' at the moment.  If you decide to follow Madonna, Rihanna and Lady Gaga and invest in a solid gold tooth grill, make sure you have it correctly fitted by your dentist.  Keep your grill and your teeth scrupulously clean, and don't wear your grill for long periods.  Remember, fashion fads quickly go out of style, but a healthy set of pearly-whites always look great