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February 2, 2006
Slang of the Week: grill (noun. Plural: grillz)
mouth, smile or dental jewelry

Cecelia felt naked without her platinum and ruby grill, but she had to remove it to walk through the airport security checkpoint.

Celebrity quote:
“I'll get at you, I'll punch out your grill
I'll get at you, let off that blue steel.”
-50 Cent on the song Piggy Bank

In this song from 2005, 50 Cent is planning to hit his rival in the mouth. But these days, with the hot fashion of highly decorated grillz covered in diamonds and other precious stones, he might hurt his hand more than his opponent’s teeth.

Back in April of 2004, we commented on the fashion of fronts (a synonym for grillz) and slugs (gold teeth—think Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean). This jewelry is not new, but it has been gaining popularity recently among musicians and athletes. One of the most celebrated grill designers is a Houston rapper named Paul Wall, who boasts of his own grill that it has “20 carats” of diamonds and cost “30 stacks” ($30,000).

Given the strong position of the American Dental Association against tongue piercings (they believe the jewelry causes wear on teeth) I wondered what dentists think of these newer (usually removable) tooth coverings. While they’ve yet to make an official statement on the ADA website, I did find this not-so-positive comment from dentist Dr. Dondre Simpson in the Howard University student newspaper: “They rot your teeth... [Grills] are not done professionally by dentists and it's crap what I see.”
What’s new at Slang City?
For even more information on this jewelry phenomenon, check out our translation of Nelly’s hit Grillz in Music. (Warning: adult themes.)