Grillz and Gold Teeth – Esthetic, Economics and Ethics


  • Thembelihle M Mtolo Senior Dental Technologist, Dental Laboratory, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, South Africa.
  • Pagollang D Motloba Department of Community Dentistry, School of Oral Health Sciences, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University



bursts and spouts, Meticulous fillings


My laboratory has been providing services to a modest number of dental professionals for a while now. As part of prosthodontic work I have done, one has witnessed a generalised upsurge, albeit steady, in the request for gold inlays, followed by silver and grills overtime. The demand for these services is correlated with the location, period and ethos of the practice. Our practice has seen a drastic tapering down of requests during the Covid -19 period. Ultimately, there is a discernable driver for the demand of these services. We have also observed from dental casts that, the dentition appeared to be without any noticeable pathology. This implies that most patients requiring these prosthesis, have “virgin” teeth prepared. Being a small laboratory, our numbers, are insignificant compared to bigger laboratories. Additionally, unregistered laboratories and jewellers have entered this space and are providing ‘affordable’ alternatives. On a typical month, our laboratory fabricates a total of 320 prosthesis of which gold inlays, constitute about 60%, silver, 30% and grills, 10%. These numbers are an under-representation of the extent of this phenomenon and the potential ‘subdued’ and untapped market, especially during this fierce Covid -19 economic downturn. We hypothesise that we are witnessing the tip of an iceberg, and that under the right conditions, this grills and gold teeth epidemic will go beyond the tipping point. Given the cultural, economic and other factors, more and more youth will sustain the demand for these services in perpetuity.


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How to Cite

Mtolo, . T. M. ., & Motloba, . P. D. . (2021). Grillz and Gold Teeth – Esthetic, Economics and Ethics. South African Dental Journal, 76(08), 498–500.

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