As Phnom Penh is quickly becoming a material world, some material girls are putting extra style in their smile.
In the last couple of years, dental clinics in the capital have seen a rise in youths, mostly girls, requesting that a diamond-like white gem, called a skyce, be implanted in their teeth.
Upgrading your ivories with gold or gems has been popular in Europe and America for many years, and for girls like Him Sokunthea, the benefits are obvious.
“After I installed it, I feel happier. It makes me more popular and attractive,” says the 21-year-old language school student.
“Of course I follow Cambodian film stars and my friends. After I had it done, my relatives and friends came and asked me about it.”
The price of the procedure ranges from US$15 to $50, depending on the dentist, the procedure and the size of the stone. Some choose to have the stone glued on, a practice that is much cheaper but also more temporary, as the stone can easily come loose.
Tep Navy, executive director of Pachem dental clinic, says that there is no danger in implanting a skyce into a tooth, but that it will likely fall out after two or three years.
For those who desire would prefer a real diamond set in their teeth, the process is a bit more tricky.
As opposed to a skyce, which has a flat back that is easy to stick on your tooth, a diamond has a pointed tip that requires a deeper hole to be drilled into your dentures.
Chav Bun Heang, a post-graduate periodontal student the University of Health and Science, said that all of these procedures present a risk of permanent damage or rotting.
“The problem could happen if the dentist is not careful when they remove the diamond or skyce,” he said.
Others are not convinced that the risk is worth the extra sparkle in your smile.
“I don’t think people become handsome just because of a diamond tooth,” 19-year-old Ly Rathanak, a student at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.
“There are more factors to determine the beauty of one person.” But it still seems to some that beauty is in the teeth of the beholder.