Gold teeth have been around for centuries. In some cultures, gold teeth were a sign of wealth or status. In fact, some have been a means of protecting fortunes, especially in economic hardships. In early periods of Egyptian and Chinese history, gold was used for false teeth because it was so malleable. There are skulls over 5,000 years old that have been found with gold teeth their mouths.
Why gold? Gold is bendable, can last for years, and is generally immune to significant corrosion. It does not break as easily as some of the porcelain and other metals do. In addition, it can adapt to the teeth very well.
Gold teeth, as a fashion statement, began in Miami sometime in the 1960s, and its use did not originate with gangsters or gang activity. My grandmother had a set of dentures with an open face gold tooth in the front, and she was very proud of it. It gave here a sense of value and pride, which, due to racism in the South in those days, was very hard to come by.
It was not until the 1980s that gold teeth became popular in the hip-hop world. Gold shines and sparkles just like the superstars! Rappers like Flava Flav, Big Daddy Kane and others latched on to the idea and increased the acceptance. Since their appearance on the scene in ’80s rap, gold teeth have grown in popularity, with stars like Lil Wayne and Paul Wall on BET, MTV and on red carpets. You may even catch other moguls like P.Diddy sporting his lower pull-out gold grill. However, there are some rappers like Birdman and supposedly Kanye West who have the new permanent platinum diamon-encrusted grills. These can cost up to $100,000 or more if a dentist and jeweler do them together. I hope the diamonds are not on the biting surface because they can wear down the enamel, resulting in a root canal!
All in all, gold teeth are not bad. In fact, most dentists still recommend them on the molar teeth because they hold up very well with the forces of biting. In addition, they don’t crack or break as easily as the porcelain type.
Beware of allowing people (flea markets, etc.) who are not dentists to put things in your mouth. If they are not sterile, they can introduce bacteria and viruses, which can cause gum disease, herpes, HIV or other health issues. In fact, in the state of Georgia, performing procedures in the mouth without a license is a felony on the first offense!
Finally, young folks, it’s OK to use gold teeth as sort of jewelry. If they are removable, make sure you take them out to brush and floss your teeth daily. If they are permanent, brush and floss them like your normal teeth and, hopefully, they were done by a licensed dentist. In my opinion, unless you are independently wealthy, please get the kind you can remove. Most Fortune 500 companies, even including McDonald’s, will not hire you if you have them in the front.
Dr. Rico D. Short – Root Canal Specialist to the STARS! www.apexendodontics.net