Sat in an oversized leather chair with clinical white surroundings and the echoed tone’s of drilling, a trip to the dentist can be a somewhat uncomfortable experience. However, over recent years a less terrifying branch of dentistry has been explored, contributing more to enhancing eccentric style than dental hygiene. With the emergence of an increasing number of creatives from a dental background advancing towards the world of design, the intriguing combination of experience and creativity has led to an array of revolutionary dentistry inspired wearables.


With an array of futuristic contemporary designs, Japanese dentist-turned-designer Taro Hanabusa is the man behind the avant-garde accessories range Fangophilia. Applying his dental experience and creative concepts,  Fangophilia has emerged as a cult favourite among Tokyo fashionistas and gained credible recognition worldwide.


Employing a mix of gothic and high fashion sensibilities, the Japanese artist adopts silver as his material and vigilantly constructs a range of unique custom pieces based on the moulds of teeth, fingers, eyes, and the kneecap. Initially moulding the requested body part, the acting dentist then pours in the gypsum plaster in order to create the model, after covering it with wax the model is then cast with silver metal creating the polished finish. The talented designer whom still practices dentistry 1.5 days per week claims;

“I’d always been into body modification. So as I was working as a dentist I was thinking it would be interesting if my hobby and work life as a dentist could overlap.” (Blourinatinfo, 2013)

With the process taking from one day to around two weeks depending on the requested piece, Hanabusa believes his fascination with body modification spires from a broader spectrum of design;

“What I was always really interested in was tattoos, and piercings. So I wasn’t interested in ordinary accessories, but rather, body modification.” (Blouinartinfo, 2013)


Yi Zhou | Body Memory Collection

Born and raised in Beijing, Yi Zhou is an independent designer and artist focusing on the interrelation between human relations and behaviour. Adopting dentistry prosthetics to create her personalised conceptual collection “Body Memory.” The Chinese designer creates a memory through each sculpt-able piece, compiling a unique series of duplicated cast models transformed into accessories. Relying on the ideology that the body itself is capable of storing memories, as opposed to only the brain, Yi Zhou intricately decorates each piece. Painting the “Thumb” design with red nail polish and “Teeth” design with a single golden tooth.

Providing the opportunity for the wearer to store the precious memories that we often lose  such as smell and touch. Yi Zhou relays on the  experience of an initial encounter, believing it’s of great importance that such moments should be captured;

“When people shake hands: right/left hands, palm temperature, strength of the grip, eye contact, etc… all these small impressions contribute to our memories.”

Having learned the basics of hand-casting dental prosthetics whilst working in prosthetic dentistry and orthodontics as teenagers.  Jill Martinelli and Sabine Le Guyader bonded instantly whilst studying Sculpture and Metals at Massachusetts College of Art. The duo’s instant chemistry lead to the fusion of their creative ideas and parallel backgrounds, eventually creating Lady Grey a fashion forward jewellery collection that would lead their progressive design philosophies to the ready-to-wear market. (Lady Grey Jewellery, 2015)

Lady Grey | 2011

Drawing inspiration from equestrian hardware to Egyptian symbols, the jewellers’ state the brand is about making progressive design wearable in the real world. Reflecting on the brands unique design style,  Martinelli claims the most successful accessories are the gold clip on cage and lobe earrings, with each piece mimicking the shape of the ear. Highlighting dentistry inspired design is something unique and special, Martinelli reflects on the adoring market for this type of avant-guard design;

“Those are pieces you would think would be tricky to sell, but they’re the most successful. It’s for a woman who’s a little braver.”

Lady Grey | 2013

Proving the use of dentistry prosthetics in design can lead to a visionary collection. The fascinating fusion continues to inspire and attract attention. From sculptural jewellery to body modification, the thought provoking creations continue to add depth to eccentric style with a personalised edge. Commenting on the condition of her hands after years of practice in this skilled handiwork, Martinelli states;

“I can never wear the rings. It’s just impossible to maintain because our hands are working on every single piece,” she said. “It’s embarrassing. People say, ‘Let’s see.’ And I just think, ‘Oh, don’t look at my hands.’ ” — Jill Martinelli (Boston Globe , 2014)


Blouinartinfo (2013) Designer Spotlight: Fangophilia Designer Taro Hanabusa [Online] Available at http://Http:// [Accessed 2015]

Boston Globe  (2014) Lady Grey jewelry designers went from dentistry to celebrity [Online] Available at http://Https:// [Accessed 2015]

De Zeen (2015) Ai Weiwei’s first jewellery collection is cut from a rod of gold rebar [Online] Available at http://Http:// [Accessed 26/11/15]

Design Boom (2015) Ai WeiWei models 24kt gold jewelry collection after structural rebar [Online] Available at http://Http:// [Accessed 25/11/15]

Lady Grey Jewellery (2015) About Us [Online] Available at http://Http:// [Accessed 2015]

Yi Zhou Design (2015) Body Memory [Online] Available at http://Http:// [Accessed 2015]