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Home » Tooth Tattoo: What Is It? Is It Safe?

Tooth Tattoo: What Is It? Is It Safe?

Tooth tattoos are a part of ornamental dentistry. They are also known as dental tattoos or dental jewelry.

They are a new trend in the dental cosmetics industry but are yet to receive mainstream coverage and approval. There are not enough clinical studies available to explore their risks.

In this article:

  • What is a tooth tattoo?
  • Types of tooth tattoos
  • How are they made?
  • Tooth tattoo costs
  • Are tooth tattoos safe?

And much more.

What is a tooth tattoo?

Tooth tattoos are not traditional in which a tattoo artist inserts ink or dyes into an individual’s skin to create a specific design. They are not done at a tattooist’s studio but at a dental lab.

They are ornamental decorations on your teeth or crown. Based on the type you choose, they may last 24 hours to 15 years.

Types of Tooth Tattoos

  • Temporary Tooth Tattoo
  • Permanent Tooth Tattoo

Temporary Tooth Tattoo

Temporary tooth tattoos do not last long. They are primarily templates of artwork attached or glued to the teeth. The procedure can take about fifteen minutes.

The tattoo can be a work of art, a symbol, or a company logo. Your dentist can help you place it on your tooth.

You can also buy them online and stick them to your teeth yourself. The only drawback may be that the commercial-grade stickers may not come with non-toxic and water-resistant glue.

Permanent Tooth Tattoo

They are not permanent but are placed on a crown by a certified dental lab. They are designed to last as long as the crown lasts. A crown may last as many as 15 years with proper dental care.

Dental Tattoos of a Third Kind

The authors of a research article in the Journal of Evolution of Medical and Dental Sciences talk about a new kind of tooth tattoo drilled into the tooth enamel.

We believe this is a dangerous procedure that can significantly impact your facial structure and oral health. It is also a highly invasive and non-reversible procedure. It is better to stay away from this kind of tattooing.

How are Tooth Tattoos Made?

The tattoo artwork is carved on the crown, and then the crown is cooked to make the artwork permanent on it. The process is similar to making a crown for your tooth.

  • Your dentist creates an impression of your tooth.
  • The impression is sent to a lab to make a custom crown. It is the dental lab that applies the artwork of the tattoo to the crown.
  • Your dentist receives the crown from the lab within two weeks and cements it to your tooth.

All dental labs that make crowns may not have the expertise to make tattoos on the crowns. Speak to your dentist to see if they have the right expertise to serve you.

Brushing your crown regularly will not remove your tattoo. If you dislike your tattoo, you can replace the crown with a new one.

On the other hand, you can remove your tattoo sticker within 24 hours by brushing it off.

How much do tooth tattoos cost?

A dental crown may cost you between $1,000 and $2,500. The dental lab will charge you extra for applying the artwork on the crown. Add to it the dentist’s fee. Besides, you may have to pay for the artwork if it is not yours. An exclusive artwork with a copyright may not come cheap. Ask your dentist to give you a quotation with no hidden fee.

If you opt for a temporary tattoo but at a dentist’s, ask your dentist what glue they may use for this purpose. The glue may cost a few dollars, but the chair time has a cost you must be ready to meet.

Are tooth tattoos safe?

Tattoos drilled on the teeth are not safe, although there are not enough clinical data to say how dangerous they are. On the other hand, temporary stickers may not be safe if the glue is not of the edible kind. In addition, enough clinical studies have not been done to prove that tattoos on crowns are unsafe for health.

Consider the following:

  • Can the tattoo stickers cause plaque? They can.
  • How harmful can the artwork dye or pigment be? Depends on what dye or pigment they are.
  • Can the dye leak following a cavity? Probably.
  • Can the dye compromise the structural integrity of the crown? There is not enough data to support that.
  • Is tattooing a crown expensive? It can be if you do not like your tattoo and have to get a new one.

Final Word

Tooth tattoos are not something that you should be wasting your time on. They do not add to the functionality of your teeth. On the contrary, they may become a hazard for you one day. It is safer to stay away from them until enough clinical studies have been done.


  • New York Times. ‘You’ve Got Something on Your Teeth.’
  • Journal of Evolution of Medical and Dental Sciences/ Volume 3/ Issue 04/ January 27, 2014. DOI:10.14260/jemds/2014/1924 REVIEW ARTICLE
  • Healthline. ‘So You Want a Tooth Tattoo: 8 FAQs About Safety, Cost, Aftercare, and More.’

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