As one of the most precious metals, gold has been treasured for centuries. Kingdoms rose and fell over the ability to acquire the beautiful metal. Part of gold’s allure is that it does not corrode. Throw a treasure chest of gold and silver coins into the sea and a few years later the silver corrodes from the effect of exposure to salt water. The gold, on the other hand, looks brand new even after being left in seawater for decades. Here is what you need to know about dental gold and grills.
Many appreciate a smile laden with gold. Pure gold of 24 carats is a very soft metal, so it is not suitable to be used alone for dental gold purposes.
Gold was first used in dentistry about 2,500 years ago. It continues to be popular. In contemporary times, about 80 tons of gold are used each year as dental gold. To make the metal stronger, gold is mixed with other precious metals creating an alloy. Modern dental gold is made of gold mixed with platinum, palladium, and other precious metals. The value of these special alloys is actually higher than gold itself, which means that dental gold is of greater value than pure gold.
Dental gold is easy to shape, bonds nicely with porcelain to make crowns, and does not corrode in the mouth. Dental gold is easy to cast, trim, and polish. It has a long-lasting life for uses such as filling cavities and to make dental bridges.
Historical Reasons for Using Gold
The earliest dental work was rudimentary at best. Only the rich elite could afford to have “gold” teeth. The wide-open smile that reveals many gold teeth became a sort of status symbol. To get rid of painful tooth cavities by filling them with gold was the height of fashion. Not only was the toothache pain stopped and the rest of the tooth saved, but also by having gold in the teeth, it showed a degree of wealth and sophistication.
Modern day music stars and famous people in pop culture continue the use of dental gold as a status symbol. Dental gold is used for inlays, veneers, and crown caps. A removable gold grill is used to cover the front teeth for decoration. These are also called “grillz.”
A dentist in Dubai is claiming the most expensive dental gold grill in the world. It is made of 24-carat gold with 160 encrusted diamonds. It costs around $200,000. Now that is some super “bling bling!” Bling is slang for ostentatious displays of gold and diamond jewelry. The idea for wearing bling is that when a person comes up from the streets and they finally “make it,” as a performer, they then wear flashy jewelry to prove their accomplishments. Golden teeth grills are part of this bling culture.
A Few Cautions about Grills
Besides costing a boatload of money, it is important to understand a few things so that wearing a grill does not cause undesirable damage to the teeth.
Here are some tips to avoid problems with grills:
Do not use your parent’s credit card to pay for a grill without permission! This is a joke of course, but seriously, a person had better be able to lay down plenty of cash, of their own, to get a high quality grill. Precious metals used to make grills like gold are better than cheaper base metals, which can stain the teeth.
The ADA recommends that a person does not eat while wearing a grill. Grills are only for show, so it is best to remove them when eating.
Oral B says to keep a grill super clean. Anything that goes in and out of the mouth needs to be cared for properly using adequate dental hygiene methods. It is important to brush the grill to remove any food particles, rinse it carefully, and then soak a grill in antiseptic mouthwash between uses.
Be careful that the fit of a grill is a comfortable one. No unwanted pressure should be put on the underlying teeth that moves them in undesirable ways or creates tooth pain.
Recycle Dental Gold
When dental gold is removed or upgraded be sure to get value by recycling the old dental gold. It is a bit of a moribund idea, but if a person has a lot of dental gold, they may want to make a provision in their will, to allow this dental gold to be extracted before burial and given to their heirs.
Oral Problems Caused by the Use of Metals in the Mouth
Alternative healthcare practitioner, Dr. Mercola says that conflicts between different metals used in dentistry can be problematic. There is some research to substantiate the claims that certain metals react with other metals in the mouth and produce undesirable outcomes.
Mercury amalgam fillings are typically targeted as being a problem, so it is important for anyone considering using dental gold to consider what other metal is in the mouth. This is to avoid any possible negative consequences from the metals reacting to each other.
Dental gold has substantial positive uses in making repairs to the teeth as well as making them more beautiful. The choice of using dental gold as a cosmetic enhancement is up to the individual. With moderate attention paid to the safety precautions, there is plenty of room for extraordinary fashion expression by using dental gold.