Dentists – Heavyweights in the Hip Hop Industry
This seemingly paradoxical statement is actually true! Think about it…
Where did rappers like Lil’ Wayne, Flava Flav and Ludacris source their gold encrusted teeth?
And who was behind the dental appliance trend “Grills” that hip hop star Nelly famously sang about?
Dentists of course!
Expensive, ostentatious and superficial, our dentists would much prefer you choose a more natural-looking cosmetic treatment… but for some fun lets explore the hip hop history of dental bling!
In the 1980s a renegade dentist Eddie Plein ignited the trend when he made gold crowns for rapper Flava Flav (of rap group Public Enemy). He later began to design bespoke grills (bedazzled removable veneers) for the wider hip hop community. These were usually constructed from silver, gold or platinum, and then encrusted with expensive jewels.
This dental trend gained exposure over the next two decades with Ludacris, Lil Jon and Kanye West promoting the fashion statement in their film clips. After 20 years of fluctuating popularity, in 2006 Nelly released his number one hit “Grillz” and solidified this dental trend in pop cultural history.
So how are grills made?
Much like a veneer restoration, grills are custom fitted to the patient’s teeth.
- First a dentist will take and impression of the teeth using an alginate dental putty.
- This mould is then used to create a plaster model of the teeth.
- This model is then used as a guide to fabricate the “blinged up” grills to fit the teeth perfectly.
- Unlike permanent veneers, grills are generally clip on for easy removal.
The long term health effects of wearing grills has not been studied, but in the past some people have been known to cement grills to their teeth, which can be destructive and damaging.