In June, rapper and producer Post Malone debuted a startling new addition to his appearance. Not another tattoo—though he’s inked under his eyes, across his cheekbones, and along his hairline—but actual diamonds sitting where most people’s canine teeth would be. The diamond dental implants were courtesy of celebrity dentist Dr. Thomas Connelly, who worked with Malone to choose the stones and then inserted them. The diamonds boast a whopping 12 carats, and overall the procedure is said to have cost the Grammy nominee $1.6 million.
He’s not the first celebrity to seek out a flashy fang situation. Eddie LeVian, the CEO of Le Vian, a family-owned jewelry company dating back to the 15th century, chimes in on the trend: “Diamond implants, teeth gems, and gold grills have been popular within the hip-hop rapper scene since the ‘80s, popularized by figures like Flavor Flav. And this trend continues with current celebrities and musicians.”
The same weekend Malone debuted his diamond dental implants, Pharrell posted an Instagram in which every tooth in the front of his mouth was covered by a different gemstone (seemingly embedded in a gold grill), while Justin Bieber purchased a purple diamond-encrusted grill just before his wedding in September 2019. Even non-musicians like to get in on the fun, like artist Ashley Longshore and her diamond canines, or Kim Kardashian (the reality star showed off bottom teeth wrapped in her birthstone, opal, and outlined in diamonds this past spring).
Dr. Anjali Rajpal is the King of Diamond Dental Implants
Aside from a natural diamond-encrusted grill—which can be slid on and off like jewelry—there are at least three minor surgical procedures for a more permanent look. Celebrity dentist Dr. Anjali Rajpal of Beverly Hills Dental Arts, who’s also known as “the Diamond Dentist” for the many times she’s delivered a blingy smile to her patients, says: “I either will insert the diamond into the tooth, in which case I have to create a small perforation or hole into the tooth to set it so that it’s completely flush with the tooth. The other way is I will place jewels or diamonds on top of the teeth, so that it’s slightly raised from the tooth structure.” With the latter move, the patient can have the stone removed later without damaging the underlying tooth. Or, if doing a restoration, “I’ll design a crown that has the jewel embedded into the crown already, and [then set it] onto the tooth,’ she says.
No matter the method, the recovery time from diamond dental implants is basically as long as it takes for the numbing agent to wear off, says Dr. Rajpal. The hardest part might actually be finding the right diamonds for the look. “I work with different jewelers for picking out whatever the patient wants, and also with my lab technician,” she says. “Sometimes the patient will come with their specific stones that they want placed, and then we’ll work with my lab technician or jeweler to place those into the restorations.”
There isn’t a specific cut that works best for teeth, though. The biggest decision is simply one of budget—yes, even for a celebrity. “I give them options of ranges of diamonds, in terms of clarity and value of the stone,” Dr. Rajpal says. “It’s really their call of what they’re able to afford.”
While colored gemstones and Swarovski crystals can provide an eye-popping look, natural diamonds are the best choice because they’re the toughest substance on earth—and double the hardness of tooth enamel on the Mohs scale. “Diamonds are the hardest-known mineral and are particularly hard and durable, making them a perfect choice for dental decoration, in addition to their sparkle and statement-worthy nature,” says Le Vian. “This is due to the unique chemical properties that make up the diamond; for example, its ‘diamond cubic’ crystal structure, and tightly bonded arrangement.”
And, of course, their prestige is hard to ignore. “Natural Diamonds are the most desired stone in terms of preciousness, and it’s just what patients want to show off more,” Dr. Rajpal says. Plus, darker stones like sapphires or rubies won’t reflect light as well, particularly from within the cavern of the mouth. “Just having white teeth and clearer stones, it tends to catch the light a little bit better.”
Anyone who’s had diamond jewelry knows that the piece looks better when it’s polished, but how exactly does one upkeep a natural diamond implant? “It’s pretty amazing—they can be brushed just as natural teeth would, and this is due to the unique hardness of the diamonds used,” says Le Vian. “It’s actually a lot easier to have a full diamond ‘tooth’ than to wear a gold or embellished grill, which needs to be removed and cleaned regularly.”
Dr. Rajpal agrees, and is sure to educate her blinged-out patients in oral hygiene. “It’s nothing beyond what you would do with your natural teeth,” she says. “I make sure that if they’re not bacterial traps—I design them very carefully because I’m very concerned about my patient’s health. That’s my utmost priority.”
If you’re loving the look, rest assured you needn’t be a rapper to rock a natural diamond fang. Dr. Rajpal has worked on stone implants or crowns for players in the NBA and NFL, models, and actresses. “I’ve even done an 80-year-old before,” she says.