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Grills are still in vogue for rappers, but they’re no longer a requirement for a stylish MC flashing their teeth in a video or red carpet appearance. Over the past few years, everyone from T.I. to 6ix9ine have had dental work to get their teeth whitened, straightened, and fixed. In 2019, a Hollywood smile has become a marker of success in hip-hop.
When rap’s rising stars like Swae Lee, Rich the Kid, Lil Pump, and Kamaiyah want to get their teeth on point, they go to Dr. Daniel Naysan at Bedford Dental Group in Beverly Hills, who specializes in “aesthetic smile design.” He joined BDG in 2006 and has been working with rappers for over a decade, counting many of them as friends.
“YG has me on text,” Dr. Naysan says. “So he’ll text me at like 2 a.m. that he has somebody for me, and then the next day it’s one of the artists that’s on his label, Kamaiyah,” Dr. Naysan said. ”They have a good relationship and they feel like family, so they refer.”
We spoke with Dr. Naysan about getting hip-hop’s elite in his chair, what kind of work rappers are having done in 2019, and the cult following that has developed around him.
How did you first start working with rappers?
It dates back to one of my first rapper patients was Lil Romeo’s dad, Master P. We had him as a client and Lil Romeo was our patient from when he was like 12 years old. We had a lot of people from Death Row. Right now we have The Game. One of the first rappers that came to our office was Puff Daddy. We have Tory Lanez, Swae Lee, YG.
Are these mostly artists who live in the Beverly Hills area? Or do you find that people are coming to your practice from far away?
It’s an inner circle. They all talk. For example, YG has me on text, so he’ll text me at like 2 a.m. that he has somebody for me, and then the next day it’s one of the artists that’s on his label, Kamaiyah. They have a good relationship and they feel like family, so they refer.
When Tory Lanez wants something, he texts me directly.
Was there a specific time when you noticed a real uptick in rappers coming in?
I don’t know if you’re familiar with the Gold Teeth God, but he does a lot of grills for a lot of rappers, people in the music industry, and athletes. We started working with each other, and he sends business here for me to take impressions of people’s grills, and I actually send my patients to him as well. We have a little collab thing going on.
What sort of work do rappers typically come to you for?
If we’re talking about rappers and people in the hip-hop industry, recently they’ve been doing a lot of porcelain veneers to glam their smile up. They’ve also been doing a lot of fixed gold crowns with diamonds. You know how there are grills that are removable? We can do ones that are fixed so that they don’t come out.
Do you make those fixed grills yourself?
I do that. We’ve also worked with Dolly Cohen. She does all the grills for everybody. People like Pharrell, Jay-Z, Beyonce. She’s very big, she’s based out of Paris.
What’s the most elaborate or intricate piece of work you’ve ever done?
We’ve done designs where you can choose between yellow gold, platinum gold, rose gold, and we can do pave diamonds and shapes. We can put people’s initials, we can put a heart shape on a tooth. You name it.
What are some of these rappers like as patients?
They are very funny. They’re very interesting, unique people. They live a different type of lifestyle. They are always on the go, so scheduling with them is tricky. They need to get things done faster. They’re always on tour, you know. You have to go through managers, assistants, accountants, obviously. It’s not like seeing a typical patient.
Is it the kind of thing where they reach out and expect to come in very quickly? Or are appointments set up much more in advance?
Everyone’s different. When Tory Lanez wants something, he texts me directly. That’s usually the relationship that I have with a lot of these guys. They feel close enough to me that they can contact me directly. But as far as putting things together, scheduling, obviously their assistants and my assistants coordinate all of that.
You’ve built a pretty big Instagram following, largely by posting pictures of you and your clients. Does having a following like that affect your practice at all?
I don’t see myself as a dentist just for rappers or athletes. I see myself as a dentist for everyone. I have the mailman who works down the street and then, yes, I have Mariah Carey who also comes to my office. I see this as a family practice. I see this as a practice where my patients become, like I said, my family and friends, and they refer their friends and family. Although, we are very fortunate and very humbled and blessed to be in this business and to be able to help people with their smiles and give them confidence.
Which rappers do you work with most regularly and who refers the most clients?
I have really good relationships with Swae Lee, Tory Lanez, and YG for sure.
Did you grow up a hip-hop fan? Have you gotten more into it because of your work?
Yes, but it was a different generation back then. I was born in 1980, so I’m not old, but I’m not young. My days were 2Pac, Nas, Biggie, Jay-Z... I’m not as familiar with [the newer generation]. Lil Pump and Lil Xan came to my office, I had no idea who they were. Although there was a huge paparazzi following outside my office when they showed up.
Since working with people like them and Rich the Kid, has it opened you up to the newer wave of rap?
Oh yeah. Rich the Kid’s album is incredible. I’ll tell you, when he came in or Lil Pump or Lil Xan, I didn’t know who they were. [Same with] Southside, Famous Dex. But, once you get to know them, you learn about their music and you appreciate what they do. It’s nice, it opens your door to another world.
Given your starry clientele, do you find yourself having to ever deal with paparazzi? Have you ever had a TMZ person trying to squat in the bushes outside your office?
No, we have a really good setup in our office where there’s a back entrance, so you don’t have to walk through the front door. There’s an elevator that takes you up so that no one will see you. We have it set up so that they don’t have to deal with that riff raff… If I were them, I wouldn’t want to deal with paparazzi either, so I want to make their experience as comfortable and pleasant as possible.