Decorating your smile with tooth gems has become a popular fashion statement. But what happens when you need orthodontic treatment? Do braces and tooth gems work together?
Getting braces often means saying goodbye to embellishing your teeth. The brackets, bands and wires used in orthodontics cover most of the tooth surface. This leaves little exposed enamel for gems to adhere to.
However, with some creativity and care, you can still enjoy subtle dazzle during your braces journey. Certain methods allow for safely integrating dental gems into your orthodontic smile.
What Are Tooth Gems?
Before examining how tooth gems work with braces, let’s first look at what these dental accessories are.
Tooth gems are small decorative jewels that adhere temporarily to the enamel of teeth. Also called tooth jewels or dental gems, these sparkling embellishments gained popularity in the early 2000s as a stylish tooth decoration trend.
Tooth gems are made from:
- Cubic zirconia
- Glass fragments
- Other radiant materials
The gems come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and colors. You can choose different hues and cuts to match your style.
Tooth gems stick to the enamel surface using safe dental adhesives. The gems can be applied either using professional dental methods or through at-home kits.
The adhesive temporarily bonds the gem to your tooth enamel. Most dental gem adhesives last 1-2 weeks before wearing off. At this point, the gem will simply fall off on its own or need reapplying.
This makes tooth gems:
- Great for short-term dazzle
Tooth gems offer a fun, reversible way to accessorize your teeth. They allow for creative self-expression and trendy smile enhancement.
How Do Braces Impact Tooth Gems?
Now that we know what tooth gems involve let’s look at how they work with braces.
Braces consist of:
- Brackets – Small squares glued to each tooth
- Wires – Thin archwires laced through bracket slots
- Elastics – Colorful rubber bands connecting brackets and wires
This combination of hardware fully covers much of both the front and back tooth surfaces. The smooth metal and plastic provide no grip for dental gem adhesives.
Therefore, orthodontic appliances leave little exposed natural tooth enamel for decorating. Braces render tooth gems pointless and impossible to apply.
Attempting to force gems onto brackets or wires will also damage both the gem and your braces. The adhesive cannot bond correctly to the orthodontic hardware.
As the gem then pops off, it may even take fragments of bracket glue with it. This could impede your braces from doing their job.
The installed bands, brackets, and wires of braces rule out tooth gems during treatment. But options still exist to embellish your smile in subtle, brace-friendly ways.
Can You Get Tooth Gems Around Braces?
While braces take up most tooth real estate, small windows remain for gems. With care and precision, certain tooth zones safely allow gem application during orthodontics.
The best spots for tooth gems with braces are:
Molars offer the largest flat, brace-free surfaces ideal for dental gems. For upper molars, gems can go on the cheek-facing back sides not covered by molar bands. For lower molars, gems may fit on the tongue-facing rear enamel uncovered by brackets.
Those getting lingual braces or Invisalign aligners may have some teeth completely without appliances. These areas of bare enamel allow total freedom to decorate with gems. For lingual braces, consider gems on front teeth. For Invisalign, gems can be worn during aligner-free hours.
Inner Tooth Surfaces
The tongue-facing inner surfaces of top and bottom incisors and canines often lack bands or brackets. These inner enamel regions can provide space for small, oval tooth gems. Place gems near the gum line away from potential brackets.
While fewer gems can be used with braces, getting creative opens up decorating opportunities. Using molar and inner tooth real estate allows you to safely enjoy some sparkle during orthodontics.
Applying and Removing Gems With Braces
Placing and taking off tooth gems around orthodontic hardware requires extra care and precision. Work slowly and cautiously to keep gems from disturbing your braces.
Follow these tips for handling gems with braces:
- Get gems applied by a dentist or orthodontist. Let an expert identify the viable spots left for gems with your unique braces setup. They can then meticulously place gems to avoid your orthodontic appliances.
- Never try adhering gems onto brackets, wires or elastics yourself. Even plastic gems not meant to stick permanently could hinder your braces if placed in the wrong spots.
- Have an oral health professional gently pry off and remove gems. Do not pick at gems yourself. This risks pulling off pieces of orthodontic cement beneath.
- Opt for clear dental gem adhesives that blend more seamlessly with orthodontic glue. Clear gems are also less visible against metallic braces.
Professional handling is key for keeping tooth gems and braces working harmoniously together. Only decorate approved enamel zones that will not disturb your orthodontic treatment.
Caring for Gems and Braces
Tooth gems require some added attention when worn with orthodontic hardware. Follow these self-care steps to maintain your dazzling orthodontic smile:
- Brush carefully around gems with a soft or orthodontic toothbrush. Avoid disturbing gems while cleaning brace areas.
- Watch what you eat. Avoid very hard, sticky or chewy foods that could loosen gems faster. Use orthodontic wax over gems if needed.
- Keep scheduled brace adjustment visits. Mention any loose or interfering gems to your orthodontist.
- See your general dentist routinely. Have your dentist handle periodic gem removal and replacement during treatment.
- Never pry gems off yourself. Always see a dental professional for safe gem removal that avoids damaging your orthodontic appliances.
With vigilant oral hygiene and professional handling, tooth gems can be worn without disrupting braces. But inform your orthodontist any time you get dental gems applied during treatment.
Creative Brace Decoration Ideas
While tooth gems themselves may not work directly on brackets, many options exist to creatively embellish your orthodontic smile:
- Colored elastics – Choose from a rainbow of elastic tie hues to make your braces unique. Mix and match colors for a fun statement.
- Patterned brackets – Customize with different bracket shapes, colors and designs. Some orthodontists can order decorated brackets just for you.
- Colorful archwires – Clear ceramic braces allow you to pick bold archwire colors beyond basic metal. Opt for vibrant pink, green or other shades.
- Bracket decals – Apply removable nail decals or rub-on images to your brackets for photos, floral designs or patterns.
- Temporary rub-ons – Some orthodontic practices offer stick-on glitter shapes or temporary mini tattoos to safely embellish around braces.
With innovation and proper orthodontist guidance, you can decorate your braces in subtle, non-obstructive ways. Then save the full tooth gems for after treatment when you have free enamel for dazzling.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I get tooth gems on my teeth before braces?
Yes, feel free to decorate your bare teeth with gems before you begin orthodontic treatment. Once braces are installed the gems will need professional removal.
Do tooth gems damage braces?
Trying to force gems onto brackets or archwires will damage your orthodontic appliances. Only adhere gems to approved bare enamel zones away from braces components.
Can I decorate my retainers or aligners with gems?
No, orthodontic retainers and clear aligner trays are not conducive to bonding with dental gem adhesives. Do not attempt to embellish any removable appliances with gems.
How long do gems last with braces?
Around orthodontic hardware, most tooth gems only stay adhered about 1 week. The metal and plastic surfaces surrounding gems make them pop off faster.
Will my orthodontist be upset if I get tooth gems during treatment?
Your orthodontist may advise removing any improperly placed gems disturbing your braces. But tasteful gems in approved locations will not interfere with treatment. Just inform your orthodontist when you decorate your smile.
Tooth gems allow for reversible smile enhancement but have limits with fixed braces. Yet creative options exist to safely integrate some dazzle into your orthodontic journey. With professional guidance and sticking to brace-friendly locations, subtle gems can complement your care without complication. Soon after completing treatment, you can celebrate your new smile by decorating with gems to your heart’s content!