The Dangers of Oral Piercings

Posted: June 30, 2016   Article

Oral piercingBakersfield, CA – Tattoos and piercings are becoming more accepted and more mainstream. They can be a wonderful form of self-expression, but oral piercings especially have their downsides. It is important to think through potential dangers before making the decision to get an oral piercing.

Your mouth is home to millions of bacteria, which makes swelling and infection a common side-effect that can occur after an oral piercing. Because your mouth is dark, warm and moist, it is an ideal environment for bacteria to grow, and therefore a perfect breeding ground for an infection to set in.

Swelling is a cause for concern, too, as excessive swelling could potentially block your airway. If you experience excessive swelling or pain, or believe you may have an infection, it is best to see a doctor right away.

Oral piercings can interfere with normal functions, such as speaking and eating. Mouth jewelry may increase your saliva flow, and alter your ability to pronounce certain words properly.

An oral piercing can also cause problems for your oral health. I’ve treated patients in my Bakersfield dental office who have broken or chipped their teeth from playing with their piercing in their mouth. Piercings can damage fillings, and scratch your teeth, wearing off the enamel and leading to sensitivity you may not have had before.

Your gum tissue is soft, and the metal of your mouth jewelry can damage it easily. It can also cause your gums to recede. Receding gums, if not properly cared for by restorative or cosmetic dentistry, can make your teeth more susceptible to decay and periodontal disease.

Additionally, oral piercings can make caring for your teeth more difficult because they can block X-rays. This can impede your dentist’s ability to make accurate diagnoses and properly treat any issues you may have.

If you are interested in getting an oral piercing, it is important to keep these things in mind before making your final decision. Talk to your dentist about his or her thoughts on the matter, and get their best tips on how to care for a piercing, should you decide to get one. In our office, we offer these tips to our patients:

  1. If you believe you may have the beginning of an infection, contact our office you’re your physician immediately. Signs to look for include fever, pain, chills, shaking, redness around the site of the piercing.
  2. Make sure you keep the site of your piercing clean and free of food debris. Rinse your mouth after every meal to keep your piercing site clear of matter that could lead to infection.
  3. Don’t click your jewelry in your mouth or against your teeth. Doing so can wear the enamel on your teeth, causing chipping and breakage, but it can also damage your gums and cause soreness.
  4. Regularly check to make sure your jewelry is tight. If it becomes loose, you could swallow or choke on the jewelry.
  5. See your dentist regularly, and pay close attention to your oral hygiene routine.

Piercing your tongue, lips, or cheek involves much greater health risks than piercing your ears does, so please consider your decision seriously, and of course, it should never be done on a whim.

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