Seems like you can’t go anywhere these days without seeing someone with a pierced lip, pierced cheek, pierced tongue or something far more extreme! Oral piercing seems to be growing in popularity as a form of self-expression and while we’re all for self-expression, as a group of dental professionals, we really don’t like the idea of oral piercing. Why? Because it’s our job to be concerned about your oral health and oral piercing just isn’t good for it. So, here are a few oral piercing risks you should be aware of whether you have one or are considering getting one done.
Types of Oral Piercings
Tongue and tongue area. Tongue piercings vary from single or multiple posts vertically (venom or angel bites), single post horizontally (snake-eyes), or under the tongue/web (frenulum). A single hole through the center of your tongue is considered the safest, and multiple jewelry options allow for a variety of unique looks.
Lips and lip area. Lip piercings can be anywhere near, around, or through the lips. It can also include vampire, smile, or frown piercings which are placed between the gums and lip on the inside of the mouth.
Other oral piercings. Piercing your cheeks, gums and even uvula (the dangling flesh at the back of your throat) all carry risks to your oral health. The skill of the technician, the location of the piercing, and the aftercare will all vary and create different results and healing periods.
General Oral Piercing Risks
Immediately following the initial piercing you can expect (tenderness, swelling?)…and typically they will heal within 10 weeks. But there can be additional oral piercing risks including:
- Migration or Rejection of Jewelry
- Metal Allergies
- Damage to teeth
Why Your Dentist Doesn’t Like Your Oral Piercing
Most oral piercings will result in swelling, redness, tenderness, bleeding and scabbing. Cleaning the area can be more difficult and/or painful, which may cause a decrease in oral health care which could result in infection. Chipped or damaged teeth can happen as a result of poorly placed piercings, or ones that migrate to a new site. In extreme cases, the damage can be so extensive that the tooth has to be extracted and replaced.
Other oral piercing risks include increased chance of trauma, such as yanking or tearing, in the cases of an accident or injury. Overall, oral piercing creates additional risk to your oral health. However, if you choose to get an oral piercing, here are some tips for taking care of it:
- Get a new, soft bristle toothbrush and brush twice a day to reduce bacteria in your mouth.
- Stop the use of any tobacco products if you use them as they can irritate swollen tissues.
- Avoid foods and drinks that can irritate your piercing, including spicy or salty foods, gum and alcohol (including mouthwash).
- Wash your hands before and after touching, cleaning or replacing oral jewelry to reduce the chance of infection.
- Use a saline soak to help your piercing heal, but don’t over do it. Twice a day is sufficient.
- Avoid swimming pools or hot tubs until all external piercings are healed so bacteria doesn’t enter your blood stream.
- Use anti-inflammatory over-the-counter remedies to help with both swelling and pain.
If you are considering getting a piercing that could affect your mouth, teeth or gums, talk to your dentist first to learn about oral piercing risks and how you can reduce them. Find a PERFECT TEETH dentist in your area online to make an appointment today!