A Brief History of Grills
“I got my mouth looking something like a disco ball
I got the diamonds and the ice all hand set
I might cause a cold front if I take a deep breath
My teeth gleaming like I’m chewing on aluminum foil”
– Grillz, Nelly (featuring Pall Wall & Ali & Gipp)
Grills (or grillz) are, if not popular, at least fairly recognizable these days. Made of precious metals (gold and platinum being the most common) and often studded with diamonds, most grills are removable and worn over the front teeth. But where do they come from?
Although many people would point to Nelly and his 2005 song, “Grillz,” as the starting point for the trend, they’re actually much older than that. (And no, we’re not just talking about rappers like Slick Rick, Flavor Flav, and Big Daddy Kane from the 80s and 90s, either). We’re talking ancient history.
In ancient Italy, between 800 and 200 BC, wealthy Etruscan women wore teeth woven together with gold wire the thickness of a rubber band. The wire held together teeth that had been removed and were placed back into the mouth, so they made eating difficult. The practice wasn’t necessarily common, but archaeologists found documentation of around 20 sets of teeth woven together in this way. Etruscan civilization vanished as the Romans took over Italy, and this fashion trend died with it.
In Latin America, Mayans actually cut small holes into their teeth and filled them with precious stones, typically jade. Again, this was a trend that only royalty and the wealthy could afford. Although the Mayan civilization has disappeared, many people in southeastern Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and Guatemala still wear gold tooth jewelry today.
In ancient Filipino myths, the creator of the world, a deity named Melu, had gold teeth—and during what was the Middle Ages in Europe, Filipinos were filing down their teeth and decorating them with gold. Some of these decorations included gold bands that covered the entire front row of teeth; the oldest date to around 1300 AD.
As the Renaissance began in Europe, dentistry was becoming more scientific and less superstitious—and Giovanni de Arcoli, a 15th century Italian professor of medicine, became the first author known to recommend filling cavities with gold to preserve them.
Grills started appearing in rap and hip hop videos in the 80s, and became even more popular as Southern rap began to take off in the 90s and early 2000s. And now, they’ve jumped into mainstream culture, as celebrities like Madonna, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, and even Ryan Lochte have sported them in recent years.
You might expect a dentist to come out against grillz as a health hazard, but no studies have proven that they’re bad for your teeth. As long as they’re removed and the teeth are brushed and flossed as appropriate, they shouldn’t cause health problems. Some metals can cause irritation; if it causes a rash, or bleeding, or other problems, just stop. Similarly, don’t clean them with anything toxic to ingest (like most jewelry cleaners), and don’t try to attach them permanently to your teeth with glue. But if you want to wear a grill, and you use some common sense and take care of your teeth, you’ll be part of a long tradition of dental jewelry.
We can’t recommend a jeweler to create your grill, but if you have any questions about dental instruments—either ornamental or for health reasons—please give us a call at (661) 952-7865 and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.
We all have our vices. Things like a couple of glasses of red wine with dinner, that cup of joe (or three) to start your day, and smoking all take a toll on the color of your teeth. Whether you are getting ready for your wedding day, aren’t ready to give up on the things you enjoy partaking in, or would just like boost in your smile, there are many reasons to have your teeth whitened. With so many options available today, how do you know which is best for you? The types of product you need will depend on your budget and how much whitening you are looking to do. Read on to see how you can get your pearly whites back to being pearly… and white.
Basic Teeth Whitening Products
There are many dental products out there that claim to be able to whiten teeth. These include gum, toothpaste, and mouthwash. While these products promote themselves as whitening teeth, they’re typically not very effective.
The American Dental Association states that there two kinds of stains whitening products target. For surface, or extrinsic, stains, these products may be able to help. For deeper, or intrinsic, stains, these products don’t have enough whitening agent, and your teeth aren’t exposed to the agents long enough, to remove deeper stains. These products may not be able to whiten your teeth to where you want them, but they can be useful in maintaining a bright smile after using something a little stronger.
Whitening strips are an over-the-counter product that works better at whitening your teeth. They typically come with two strips in a container, one each for your top and bottom teeth. With these strips, you’ll normally leave them on for 20-30 minutes per session, allowing the whitening agent more time to do its work. Whitening strips can be used multiple days in a row, but also can cause tooth sensitivity. While this sensitivity isn’t a long-term problem, you should take a few days off of using the strips if your teeth become too sensitive.
Take Home Kits
Take-home whitening kits are a treatment you need to see your dentist for. Your dentist will make an impression of your teeth to create a tray to put the bleaching agent into. Once you have the trays (usually within one to two weeks of having impressions taken), your dentist will give you instructions on how to use your kit.
This treatment is by far the most effective way to get your teeth whiter. Compared to the other teeth whitening products, chairside bleaching has the most potent bleaching agent, usually requiring a one-time dental visit for one to two hours. Your dentist will make sure you are a candidate for in-office bleaching and will take the proper precautions to ensure that the bleaching agent will avoid your gums, as it can irritate the tissue.
Typically, the more effective a whitening product is, the more expensive its price. Depending on your situation, one treatment may be ideal for you, even if it’s not ideal for another patient. Often, in-office whitening treatment may be initially expensive, but in the long run, you get the color you were aiming for, and potentially save money by not trying several cheaper products that don’t deliver results.
If you are unsure what option is best for you, give us a call at (661) 952-7865 for more insight.
“Summer loving had me a blast, oh yeah. Summer loving happened so fast…” —Grease, Summer Nights
Its’ the stuff dreams and movies are made of: summer love. Warm summer nights, afternoons at the beach, vacations to the Caribbean—whether you are hoping to meet your next crush or are looking forward to romancing your long-time love —summer is sure to heat things up.
Did you know that June 19th is National Kissing Day? Are you ready to get romantic? A healthy mouth and kissable lips are key to having the summer you have been dreaming of. From making sure that your teeth and gums are in top condition, to protecting and caring for your lips so they stay soft and blemish free, there are several measures you can take to stay romance ready all summer long.
Tips for a healthy mouth
The best way to make sure that your mouth stays healthy and halitosis free is to stay on top of your at-home oral hygiene practices. Don’t forget the basics:
- Brush twice a day
- Rinse after brushing
- Floss daily
Take your oral care to the next level. You already know you need to set up routine visits with your dentist to keep your teeth in top condition. Consider the following treatments for extra protection.
- Regular fluoride treatments can help keep your teeth strong, especially if your water source is fluoride free.
- Dental sealants can protect your teeth from decay. Consider having them applied to your back teeth.
- Along with your routine cleanings, try a whitening treatment so that your healthy smile shines through.
Taking care of your lips
If you are concerned about keeping lips kissable, consider the following tips:
- Apply balm to your lips before you wash your face. It protects them from drying elements in your cleanser that can cause them to chap and flake.
- Use a humidifier at night to keep your skin (including your lips) moisturized.
- Don’t pick at flakey lips. Instead, remove the extra skin with a lip exfoliator or combine sugar and honey for a natural exfoliator.
- Protect your lips from the rays with sunscreen.
- If you wear lipstick, try to find one with vitamin E or Shea butter in it.
- Stay hydrated with water. Drink. Drink. Drink!
- If your lips are chapped, avoid spicy foods, foods high in citrus, and salt. They will only cause lips to dry out more.
- Avoid licking your lips. The acids in your saliva can cause irritation.
When cold sores appear
Nothing kills the mood like a cold sore. They are painful, unsightly, and contagious. They make talking and eating uncomfortable, and can be confidence busters when trying to woo someone.
Cold sores heal over the course of seven to 14 days, but true love doesn’t wait. There are over-the-counter treatments that come in the form of messy ointments and creams that make the lesions more noticeable when applied while only reducing the healing time by 1 to 2 days. Or, you can talk to your dentist about getting immediate results with laser therapy.
Laser therapy uses photonic laser energy to destroy the active virus responsible for the oral lesions and is accomplished quickly and comfortably without the need for anesthetic. Often, those who seek treatment at the first signs of the virus (tingling, and light burning sensations) don’t develop sores. However, if sores have already erupted the progression is stopped, and the appearance and discomfort is greatly decreased. Your lips will immediately appear significantly clearer, and be completely lesion-free in typically one to two days allowing you to feel more confident about getting cuddly.
The benefits of laser therapy include:
- Profound and immediate pain relief
- Treatment stops lesions’ progression immediately
- Significantly reduces healing time
- Treatment time of just a few minutes
- Treatment is painless and can be conducted with out anesthetic (it feels like warm air blowing)
- After treatment, sores reoccur with less frequency and less intensity at the same location
- Treatment is affordable and can be insurance reimbursable
With a little extra effort and support from your dental care providers, this summer is sure to be the best yet. Don’t let chapped lips or bad breath stand in the way of getting cozy under the summer night sky with that someone special. Call us today to schedule your next appointment or a cleaning and get your summer started off right.
Have you ever wondered why dentists and other dental and oral health professionals spend so much time talking about your smile? Shouldn’t they focus more on your teeth?
As dental health professionals, we know that your oral health affects a whole lot more than just your teeth. You may think your smile is just another way to communicate your happiness, but we know it does so much more than that. Smiling regularly can improve your mood and even your health. But when you hide your smile because you are embarrassed of crooked, chipped, or cracked teeth, you not only miss out on all of the benefits of smiling, but your self-esteem and confidence plummet as well.
Benefits of Smiling
Smiling — even when you may not feel like it — provides some surprising benefits. The following are just a few.
Healthier Heart. According to a study published in Psychological Science, smiling helps you recover from stress and upset. Researchers found that participants who smiled during a stressful situation had a lower heart rate when recovering. Smiling is also credited for lowering blood pressure. The more you smile, the less likely you are to develop heart disease.
Makes You Happy. The act of smiling releases endorphins. If you’ve ever gone running or worked out, then you’ve probably experienced the elation brought on by endorphins (also known as a runner’s high). When your body releases endorphins, your mood is naturally elevated.
Reduces Stress. Those endorphins that make you feel happy also reduce stress. Between the endorphins and the lower heart rate, you could feel downright calm and cool, even when life’s intensity starts to heat up.
Improves Relationships. Study after study has shown that people are more likely to trust someone with a genuine smile. Feeling connected to others is key to enjoying an enriched life. The more you smile, the more likely you are to form close, lasting relationships with others.
Minimizes Pain. Those endorphins that smiling and laughing release have been shown to reduce pain significantly, in some cases up to 40%.
Smiling Is Contagious. When you smile, approximately 50% of the time people smile back. There is an area in your brain that is responsible for your facial expressions, and as it turns out, the act of mimicking someone else’s smile is an unconscious automatic response. In fact, one Swedish study found it takes effort to frown when you see someone else smiling. So when you smile, you are spreading all of the benefits that come along with smiling to everyone who smiles back. Way to pay it forward!
How We Can Help You Smile
As your oral health provider, your overall health and happiness is our primary concern. We understand that if you aren’t smiling, then you aren’t receiving all of the benefits from our services that are available to you. If your teeth are keeping you from smiling, we have a suite of services that can fix a wide variety of conditions.
Dental Implants. Implants offer a permanent solution for missing teeth. Not only do they look and feel like natural teeth, they also maintain your facial structure and integrity.
Crowns. Porcelain crowns are the perfect restoration for cracked, chipped, or broken teeth. These natural-looking covers make imperfections in teeth entirely unnoticeable.
Teeth Whitening. We offer both at-home and in-office treatment options using the most effective teeth-whitening systems available today. All treatment options are simple and noninvasive.
Porcelain Veneers. These ultrathin, tooth-colored coverings are custom made and are fit to the front surface of your teeth, changing the appearance to the size and shape you desire. Veneers are perfect for fixing discolored and chipped teeth.
Straightening. Straightening your smile no longer requires years of wearing metal wires on your teeth. There are a variety of “invisible” straightening options, such as Six Month Smiles® and Invisalign®, which allow you to have a straighter, more aesthetically pleasing smile in a matter of months.
We are also here to help you with your routine oral hygiene so that your mouth feels as good as it looks.
If you find yourself holding back from smiling and laughing because of how you feel about your teeth, call us today to find out more about how we can help you feel better, live healthier, and smile more.
1. Kraft TL, Pressman SD. Grin and bear it: the influence of manipulated facial expression on the stress response. Psychological Science 2012;23:1372–1378.
2. Sonnby–Borgström, M. Automatic mimicry reactions as related to differences in emotional empathy. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 2002;43:433–443.
The 88th Academy Awards will be held on February 28. Viewers everywhere will tune in to see if their favorite actors, actresses, directors, and other cinematic professionals will win their Oscars. But when it comes to watching the Academy Awards, finding out who gets the big wins is only part of the fun. Watching who comes with who and seeing who wears what is a large part of what makes the Oscars worth throwing a party or friendly gathering for.
Year after year, viewers and reviewers spend weeks after the awards recalling which dresses were worn, commenting on the hairstyles that are sure to start trends, and wondering how the stars managed to get those Hollywood smiles. While most of us will never be able to afford that one-of-a-kind Versace gown, the good news is that a beautiful, white Hollywood smile is just a call away.
Smile Design offers you the opportunity to achieve a smile that is as bright and beautiful as the stars’ on Oscar night. Smile Design offers a suite of services to choose from that, when added to a strategically crafted dental plan, result in a confidence-boosting aesthetic.
Smile Design services include:
Dental implants: Implants offer a permanent, long-term solution for missing teeth. Not only do they look and feel like natural teeth, they also maintain your facial structure and integrity. A dental implant consists of a small, screw-shaped, titanium post that replaces the root of a missing tooth and is covered by a porcelain tooth-like crown that will give you back your natural smile. Depending on the number of missing teeth, there are options for single-tooth and multitooth replacement.
Crowns: Over time teeth can become weak or severely worn down, leading to decay, cracking, and breaking. Porcelain crowns are the perfect restoration for cracked, chipped, or broken teeth. These natural-looking covers make imperfections in teeth entirely unnoticeable. When crafted carefully and with your individual needs in mind, a permanent crown can restore your confidence, comfort, and overall quality of life.
Teeth whitening: As you age, your teeth are exposed to foods and drinks that stain them. Though your teeth may be perfectly healthy, they can appear damaged and make you look older. Fortunately, if you have deep stains or want to achieve a brighter smile quickly, there are teeth-whitening options that can help you acquire a beautiful, youthful-looking, bright smile. Both at-home and in-office treatment options are available and use the most effective teeth-whitening systems available today. All treatment options are simple and noninvasive.
Porcelain veneers: Sometimes teeth are damaged or discolored in a way that can’t be corrected with crowns or whiting treatments. When this happens, veneers offer a beautiful solution. These ultra-thin, tooth-colored coverings are custom made and are fit to the front surface of your teeth, changing the appearance to the size and shape you desire. Veneers are perfect for fixing discolored and chipped teeth.
Straightening: Straightening your smile no longer requires years of wearing metal wires on your teeth. There are a variety of “invisible” straightening options, such as Six Month Smiles® and Invisalign®, which allow you to have a straighter, more aesthetically pleasing smile in just a matter of months.
If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable with or embarrassed about your smile, or if you simply wish it was just a bit brighter or whiter, Douglas B. Weber, DDS, can help you with our cosmetic and Smile Design services. Call us at (661) 952-7865 to set up your personal consultation — and look forward to feeling red-carpet ready in no time at all.