As far as you’ve always known, caring for your teeth isn’t all that complicated. Brush in the morning and before bed, floss daily, don’t eat too much sugar, keep regular dentist appointments, quit smoking…it’s pretty basic, really. Even “complicated” dental care doesn’t go far beyond straightening an imperfect smile or whitening coffee-stained teeth, most of the time. That is, unless you’re among the many who’re taking dentistry to the extreme with one of these wild, risk-prone dental trends.
1. Reshaping Teeth…to Look Like Fangs
Blame it on the vampire craze or just finding an easier way to bite through steak, but tooth reshaping is trendy in certain circles. Along with the other body modifications that tooth reshaping sometimes accompanies, it carries serious risks. If too much of the tooth’s enamel is removed during the filing process, the patient could wind up uber-sensitive to hot or cold. Plus, the tooth will be weakened, which makes it more susceptible to breaking and decay. Of course, biting your tongue or lip is no small concern, either.
2. Crown Lengthening
This procedure isn’t always a bad thing – crown lengthening is often used to expose more of a problem tooth or to treat gum disease. Over the past few years, though, it’s been requested for purely cosmetic reasons. The process removes gum tissue so that teeth appear longer, which is tempting for people who think their smiles show off too much of their gums. The bottom line is that crown lengthening is surgery, regardless of why it’s being performed, and the very real risks include bleeding, swelling, pain and infection. Aside from health concerns, the steep price tag is enough to make a lot of people learn to love their less-than-perfect grins.
3. Replacing Teeth With Diamonds
Talk about a sparkling smile! Kanye West was all over the news after tweeting a photo of his new and “improved” pearly whites – his bottom teeth were replaced with diamonds. There are a couple of ways to do this, but according to West, the diamonds are a permanent fixture, not a removable cover. Okay, so you may not love the look for yourself, but besides their over-the-top appearance, how bad could they be? Turns out, very. With permanent diamond teeth (like gem-covered crowns, for example), proper dental hygiene is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Plus, it’s harder to chew and eating anything sticky, like peanut brittle, is a thing of the past.
As if that’s not enough of an inconvenience, the jaw will eventually be affected because diamonds weigh more than teeth. To top it off, after about ten years at best, there’ll be damage to the upper teeth, since they have no protection against the harsh bottom row. Even if it’s possible to have the diamonds removed in the future, the damage is irreversible.
4. Removable Sparkle
The healthy way around having diamonds permanently secured to your teeth must be to invest in removable bling, right? Not exactly. Grills are definitely much better than a lifelong commitment to gemstones, but they come with their own set of drawbacks. While removable fronts made with silver, gold or jewels don’t have major known issues (yet), they can cause irritation or an allergic reaction, depending on the wearer. Also, if food gets trapped, bacteria can breed, which means that removable grills require extra attention to daily hygiene.
5. Widening a Tooth Gap
During the 15th season of “America’s Next Top Model,” Tyra Banks went overboard (or, more overboard than normal) when she requested for one of the models to have the gap between her two front teeth widened, not fixed. While we’re happy to live in a world where flaws are considered beautiful and are celebrated, creating a wider tooth gap can disturb normal jaw function and lead to major dental problems. The technical term for a tooth gap is diastema and it’s perfectly normal, although some people get braces, usually when they’re young, to fix the problem.
Honorable Mention: Purposely Crooked Teeth
This trend hasn’t caught on in the U.S. yet, but in Japan young women are opting for crooked prosthetics to change up their normally flawless teeth. Why? They feel that having a less-than-ideal smile makes them look cuter, endearing and more approachable. The process is called Yaeba, which means “double tooth.” During the procedure, one or more of the upper canine teeth are capped, temporarily or permanently. The movement’s so popular that there’s even a snaggle tooth all-girl band called TYB48.
A Note About Dental Implants
A dental implant replaces a lost tooth by bolting the structure to the jawbone with a titanium screw. Then, a crown is attached to the implant. The procedure is a necessary solution for people who have a missing tooth due to gum disease, tooth decay, a root canal gone wrong or an accident. Approximately 70% of adults between 35 and 44 years of age have lost at least one permanent tooth, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. While it’s a reasonable option, it’s important to know the risks of getting a dental implant. Potential issues include insufficient bone mass, infection, fractures, incorrect positioning, overloading, and damage to the surrounding tissue as well as blood vessels, gums and nerves. Also, as with any surgery, the patient could have an adverse reaction to the anesthesia.
Your smile is one of your best assets and the easiest way to express your happiness and beauty. By dramatically altering their teeth, many people feel that they’re showcasing their personality. These wild dental trends are more risky than attractive, though, and for the sake of your health (and your appearance in the future), they come highly not recommended by professionals.
Image Copyright: The Ellen Show, Warner Bros. Entertainment