Ever wonder what to do with your lost teeth once they’ve fallen or have been pulled out? If your kids lose teeth, their teeth probably spend the night under a pillow and then are either thrown away or saved as a childhood memento. Most adults just leave pulled teeth at the dentist’s office, and those teeth are then sent on to dental schools, research firms, or simply incinerated as medical waste. But a designer named Lucie Majerus based in The Netherlands is doing something a little different with old teeth: she’s wearing them! Dr. Stephen Hill explains.

If you’ve never heard the term "human ivory" before, you’re not alone. Human ivory is simply repurposing human teeth to be worn as jewelry.  Lucy Majerus, a Dutch designer got the idea to repurpose human teeth into "ivory" in response to the black-market poaching crisis facing animals like elephants and rhinoceros who are still being illegally killed for their tusks and horns. Human ivory repurposes fallen or pulled teeth by polishing them with a stone polisher and reshaping them into beads for jewelry. Larger teeth like molars can be made round, while incisors can be made into teardrop shaped beads.

It sounds gross and unsanitary, right? But Majerus insists that by the time the consumer gets his or her human ivory jewelry, the teeth themselves are perfectly clean. Majerus begins the jewelry process by bleaching the teeth. From there, they are cleaned again during the reshaping and polishing process.

The final result looks nothing like teeth. In fact, if you saw someone wearing it walking down the street, you’d probably never guess it was made of human teeth! But while it looks kind of cool, it’s up to the consumer to decide if they really want to wear teeth as jewelry. The line includes everything from necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets and for men, cufflinks and lapel pins. Customers can purchase jewelry made of strangers’ teeth, or if you’d like, you can send your own teeth to Majerus for a custom made, commissioned piece.

The artist says she hopes the project inspires people to see the value in themselves, and while we don't disagree with that, there’s a better way to do that. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss, get regular cleanings and exams. Take care of your teeth while they’re still in your mouth, and they’ll be the most beautiful accessory you have.

To schedule your exam and cleaning, give Dr. Stephen Hill’s office a call at 469-640-9550.