Oral Piercings and Dental Health

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Before you decide to have your tongue pierced, it is important to understand the associated risks. While oral piercings may look cool or make a statement, they can lead to complications if you fail to take proper precautions. While getting an oral piercing does not guarantee problems, those that decide to get pierced should understand the risks involved.

One reason that oral piercings are very popular is that there are many options available. You can get a common midline tongue piercing, or you could get a frenulum or labret piercing. Depending on the size, location, and number of your piercings you have, they may require extra care and more frequent examinations from the dentist.

If you have a tongue stud, it can be tempting to want to click it against your teeth. This clicking can be severely damaging to the enamel of your teeth and can cause cracks and fractures. It is also common for people with tongue piercings to want to press the jewelry against the teeth or into gaps in the teeth. This constant pressure on the teeth can cause them to shift or become crooked.

When you have a new tongue piercing, you should take extra caution to prevent it from becoming infected during the vulnerable 4 to 6 weeks that the tongue takes to heal. Your mouth is full of bacteria, which can enter the bloodstream through an open sore, causing diseases such as endocarditis.

If you have a barbell piercing, you should minimize the risk to your teeth by ensuring that it is snug against your tongue with the smallest length of barbell that fits you. You should also avoid tapping your piercing against your teeth or pressing it against the gums.  For more information about oral piercings or the risks involved, please feel free to contact our office at Robert Rust, Jr., DMD.