By Michelle Graff

I have to be honest. The trend toward "grills" (basically bling for the mouth) totally grosses me out. The pieces have been popular in hip-hop communities for several years now, but they have recently sprung to mainstream prominence following last year's appearance at the Academy Awards on hip-hop group Three 6 Mafia.

Custom grills, which can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, require the maker to create dental impressions of the wearer. Predictably, however, few dentists have taken to creating grills, leaving the practice open to a few trailblazing jewelers.

I am all for jewelers staying up on the latest trends, and I have no problem with body jewelry. But I think this may be going just a bit too far. Without proper training, jewelers have no way to ensure that such practices are sanitary or even safe—opening up jewelers to ethical and legal issues.

I am not the only one who feels this way. WMC TV Memphis reports that a lawmaker in Tennessee has proposed a bill that would ban anyone but dentists from creating grills.

"It's not safe," state representative John Deberry of Memphis told the station. "Places not forced by the state of Tennessee and proper authorities to maintain clean tools and utensils can use the same molding material on another person they used previously on someone."

I have to say I agree. Let's leave the grills to the dentists and have jewelers focus on the far more sanitary purchases of rings and bracelets.

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