What are permanent gold teeth and why get them? Gold teeth come in a variety of forms, including dental implants, crowns, fillings, and grillz.
Gold crowns have been used for hundreds of years in restorative dentistry, and are still used today because of their durability and effectiveness. Crowns are used for a number of reasons including:
- Repairing a broken tooth
- Strengthening a weakened tooth
- Tooth decay
- Following a root canal
In recent years gold teeth have become more popular, and even fashionable to wear. Gold grillz have been popularised by the song ‘Grillz' by Nelly in 2005, and by many American rappers over the years.
Whatever your reasons for wanting to know more about gold teeth, read on as we discuss everything there is to know including costs, benefits and risks.
Table of contents
Why gold teeth?
Gold teeth, also known as gold dental caps or crowns, are a popular choice for dental restoration and decorative purposes. They are custom-made to fit over a damaged or decayed tooth to protect and restore function.
Gold teeth can also be used for cosmetic purposes, to enhance the appearance of a person's smile. Some people choose gold teeth because they are durable and long-lasting, and they do not corrode or tarnish like other materials.
Gold is a soft metal, which makes it easy to shape and mould into the desired shape, but is it up to the task of grinding the food you consume?
Well, gold has been used effectively in dentistry since the 19th century! It is a great material for dentistry because it is biocompatible. This means that your body won't reject the metal from your body like it would other foreign objects.
And since gold is also extremely malleable while still mimicking the hardness of natural teeth, it's the ideal candidate for a dental filling because it won't damage the surrounding teeth. Gold is also nearly impossible to corrode.
Nowadays, gold teeth are more of a status symbol than a restorative procedure. Gold is still used to fill cavities, but it isn't as common as silver amalgam or composite. It's much more likely that you will see gold teeth implanted on the jawbone of a celebrity than used to fill a hole left by a cavity.
Types of gold teeth
Are there different types of gold teeth? Yes! Let's have a look at them now:
- Gold grills: You probably know about grills for cars, but what are grills for teeth? Also known as ‘grillz' or ‘fronts', these are decorative covers that snap over one or more teeth. These can be encrusted with jewels and precious metals and are generally removable.
- Gold tooth crown: Also known as tooth caps, some people will have their teeth fitted with gold crowns for a permanent golden fix. These are custom-fitted coverings to replace the natural crown of your tooth by using gold instead of another material.
- Gold tooth filling: Although this option isn't very common nowadays, a gold tooth filling is still an option in modern dentistry. Most fillings are in places that aren't visible when you smile normally so the point of this is less aesthetic and more a personal preference.
- Gold tooth implant: These teeth are not 100% gold since gold is too soft to be used on its own as a tooth replacement. Gold teeth implants are usually 20-70% gold alloy; the only golden part is actually the crown. The metals usually mixed with gold for the alloy implant are copper, platinum, zinc, or silver. An implant will replace the root of your tooth with a metal screw and a socket is put into the jawbone to hold it in place.
How to get a gold tooth
Depending on which option you choose to transform your smile, procedures vary in terms of time, recovery period, and price.
Full gold crowns are rarely used in dentistry unless for purely aesthetic reasons. Usually, gold is combined with other metals to create a stronger and more durable crown. Gold on its own would be far too soft. There are usually three options when it comes to these combined metals.
- Non-noble alloy – made of less than 25% precious metal and conisists of nickel, chromium and gold.
- Noble alloy – 25% precious metal and consists of nickel, chromium and gold.
- High noble alloy – 60% precious metals and consists of gold, platinum and palladium.
You also have the choice of a PFM, or porcelain fused to metal, if you like the natural look but want the durability of a gold crown.
How much is a gold tooth in the UK?
Surprisingly gold crowns are not as expensive as you would expect in the UK. And, they are available on the NHS as a band 3 treatment cost of £282.80. If you opt for private care then the cost of a gold tooth cap is more than double the NHS cost at roughly £600 depending on which practice you attend.
With the NHS you may get the option of a gold crown, as they offer both metal and porcelain fused to metal crowns. The metal crowns they offer are usually a choice of gold or another alloy. Generally, the NHS look to restore the functionality of a tooth so their main concern is not usually aesthetics.
Benefits of gold crowns
The main benefit of a gold tooth crown is its durability. Gold crowns will outlast crowns made with other materials by a long way. This study assessed 2,340 gold-based PFM and found that that 97% lasted much longer than the 10-year expectancy and some even lasted up to 25 years!
Gold crowns are less likely to break over time, although they can still come loose. They also wear quite similarly to your natural teeth which is good for patients suffering from bruxism.
Are there any side effects to having gold teeth?
Gold tooth implants, fillings or crowns don't generally have any side effects. However when side effects do occur they include the following:
- Allergic reaction to metals
- Mouth lesions
- Swelling and redness
People can have mild to severe metal allergies so it's important to recognise the signs. Metal allergies can cause dryness of the mouth, soreness, itchiness and even blistering. If you have any of these symptoms it's important to tell your dentist right away.
Procedure for getting a gold crown
As previously mentioned, some people may opt for a more permanent grill by capping their front teeth with gold crowns. A gold-capped tooth requires a more invasive procedure:
- First, the dentist will shave away at the natural tooth crowns to make room for the new gold crowns to fit over the old tooth like a glove. You will leave the first appointment with a temporary crown, that likely will not be as comfortable as your final piece.
- Next, the dentist will need to make an impression of the remaining tooth, these impressions are what will be used to make the new gold crowns.
- For the next appointment, your dentist will remove the temporary crowns and use dental cement to attach the new gold crowns.
Gold teeth crowns are also designed with jewels and other precious metals. Many people choose to include diamonds and other gemstones on the front-facing side of their crowns.
Gold teeth grillz
Technically, implants and removable clip-on gold teeth are both referred to as grillz (grills). A clip-on grill is by far the most cost-effective and least invasive in terms of the procedure of a removable gold grill. It requires no surgery and very little fitting, and most sets can be bought pre-made.
Basically, a removable grill is a teeth-shaped flat piece of metal that bends underneath your front teeth and has a silicon insert to press up against the natural teeth while it's in your mouth.
You can order a set of fake gold grills online in the UK for next to nothing or you can spend £8,000 on an insane jewel-encrusted 24-carat set. This video demonstrates how to fit an “off the shelf” grill to your teeth:
Pretty much anyone who has ever been to the dentist before regular sealant treatment became common knows what a dental filling entails. These are not typically aesthetic choices. Fillings typically replace decayed parts of the natural tooth by first drilling out the dead parts and then putting gold into the remaining space.
A gold filling was much more common in the past but now is almost obsolete as composite fillings are virtually invisible and silver amalgam is more cost-effective and durable. Whereas a silver amalgam filling costs £65.20 on the NHS and between £30 to £160 privately, a gold filling can cost £500 plus!
Gold teeth implants
You can have an implanted grill as well. This is the most invasive option for permanent gold teeth. It requires surgery and is very costly.
The most common type of gold implant is known as an endosteal implant, which is surgically placed into the jawbone. The other, less common type is a subperiosteal implant, which involves a frame fitted onto the jawbone just below the gums.
When it comes to gold teeth, implants are definitely the most permanent option. Implants can be removed, but it is a difficult and expensive process when compared to a removable grill.
This option is not recommended unless you already need to get unhealthy teeth replaced with implants. You should never have healthy teeth extracted if it can be avoided.
Gold teeth implants procedure
The procedure for implanting permanent gold teeth involves the following steps:
- First, the natural teeth and roots to be replaced with gold teeth need to be removed entirely. This is a surgery that requires a longer healing time and local anesthetic.
- After the natural teeth have been removed, the doctor will need to make an incision in the gums to expose the bone and then drill into the jawbone to set the implants. Sometimes this can be done on the same day as tooth removal, especially if there is no decay.
- Once the holes for the implants have been drilled, the abutments can be set. Think of this as the peg to which the tooth will be attached. Your doctor will likely give you temporary crowns to wear while the surgical site heals.
- After the abutments have been set and healed, the doctor can then place the permanent gold teeth crown on the abutment and screw it in or cement it with dental cement.
Permanent gold teeth cost
Time for the real question—how much is a gold tooth? Obviously, permanent gold teeth prices are higher than some other tooth materials, given the precious nature of the element.
You may see cheap offers around, but be wary if it seems too good to be true. A low cost might mean lower quality service and materials. Let's compare the options available from your local private dentist.
Depends on style and materials. Anywhere from £80 - £500 for a basic set and potentially millions for a decked out grill
£600 - £800
£2,700 - £3,700, but it really depends on style and the amount of gold in each tooth
None (if yours is, you should remove it immediately). The more custom the set, the more comfortable it will be, but as they are a removable option, they are not painful
Minimal, thanks to anaesthetic
Some soreness and a longer recovery; can be lessened with anaesthetics and painkillers
None to minimal, thanks to local anaesthetic
With proper care, a lifetime
On average 15 years, but with proper care up to 30 years
Up to 30 years
Between 15 and 30 years
Ability to change
Requires a dentist visit, but relatively painless
The implant will always be there, but changing the crown is the same as changing a crown over a natural tooth
Requires a dentist visit
Permanent gold teeth can be adorned with jewels and even diamonds, and you can expect the cost to rise accordingly.
The best way to check gold teeth prices for the procedure you want is to have a consultation with a dentist that offers gold teeth fillings or crowns near you.
Pay for gold teeth with a dental loan
If you can't get dental insurance to cover your gold teeth, and you can't afford to pay for them on your own, a dental loan can give you the money you need to pay upfront for your treatment. You then pay back the entirety of the dental loan (plus interest) over instalments.
When American rapper Kodak Black removed his permanent gold teeth (a permanent grill, not implants) he discovered he had gum disease.
So, it's clear that there are some risks when it comes to dressing your teeth gold. Grills can lead to the wearing down of natural tooth enamel, decay, and gum disease.
And crowns can lead to tooth decay on the natural tooth if your gums begin to recede. Additionally, food and other debris can get stuck under your grill, creating a place for harmful bacteria to spread.
All grills come with risks, except implanted gold teeth, which would carry the same risks as normal implants, and are the preferred way to replace missing teeth. By limiting the amount of time spent wearing a removable gold grill you can reduce the chances of tooth decay and gum disease.
How to care for permanent gold teeth
Caring for gold teeth is slightly more complex than caring for natural teeth. The most important thing to remember is to keep the spaces between the gold face and your natural teeth clean and free of debris. Here's how to care for each type of gold teeth specifically:
- Gold grillz: The most important thing to remember when wearing your grill is to remove it from your mouth before eating. Food can become trapped between your teeth and the grill and cause decay. Try to limit the amount of time spent wearing the device and make sure to thoroughly cleanse your teeth and grill before putting it back into your mouth.
- Crowns: Make sure to brush and floss twice a day and watch what you eat. A crown is more likely to be damaged if you eat hard or sticky foods. Try to avoid, nuts, hard candies, crunchy foods, and chewing gum. Because gold doesn't shrink, there is minimal risk of tooth decay around the edges of your crown.
- Implants: Gold alloy is known to turn black and become dirty over time. So, just like any golden jewellery, they need to be cleaned regularly. Caring for permanent implants is a bit more intense. It is important to use a soft-bristle brush and a non-abrasive toothpaste so as to not damage the tooth. Using a water flosser would also be a good idea to prevent any gum disease from beginning under the crown around the abutment.
DIY permanent gold teeth
DIY options should be avoided as they are always dangerous and can cause a great deal of damage. Some people have been known to attach removable grills with glue to permanently affix them to the natural teeth.
This can lead to decay, damage, and discolouration of the natural teeth and is extremely inadvisable. If you have a grill you should make sure that it can be easily removed so that you can properly care for your natural teeth.
Removing permanent gold teeth
Removable options are more versatile since you can just take them out whenever you want normal teeth. It is a little bit more tricky to remove permanent gold teeth. Removing your permanent bling will require the expertise of your dentist.
In order to not damage the abutment and remove the gold crown, the adhesive will need to be dissolved and the cap will need to be replaced with another permanent option. Nobody should try to remove a gold crown by themselves.
When gold is combined with other metals it becomes a very durable and effective material for restorative dentistry. Although it is more popular with those looking to make a statement, that doesn't mean its quality is less than that of other dental materials. In fact, gold crowns have been proven to last well over the expected 10 years.
Real gold teeth have become more prominent in pop culture over the past few decades. Grills are typically removable and come with significant health risks but cost a lot less than implants.
Implanted gold teeth are a more permanent option and are sported by some celebrities—at a cost. Consider your budget, your desired aesthetics, and how permanent you want your gold look to be when making your choice.
How much are gold teeth?
Permanent gold teeth costs range from a few hundred to a few thousand pounds. A single real gold tooth cap can cost roughly £500 – £700 and a whole set of implants can cost £2,000 – £2,500.
Do permanent gold teeth rot your teeth?
The gold itself won't rot your teeth. However, wearing a grill for too long and not maintaining proper hygiene will lead to faster tooth decay. Sometimes, gums will recede around the site of a crown. This could cause decay at the base of the natural tooth.
Can you get gold teeth removed?
Yes, crowns and implants can be removed and replaced with composite, porcelain, or other materials; the procedure isn't so invasive but it requires a trip to the dentist.
Does getting gold teeth hurt?
Neither grills nor crowns should cause pain or discomfort. Getting an implant in your jawbone can come with some pain that can easily be treated with painkillers. Additionally, anaesthetics are used during the implant process.
American Dental Association: Grills. Consulted May 13, 2020.