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Oral Piercing — How it Affects Your Mouth

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In today’s society, we see a lot of body art being displayed on people’s faces. We often see eyebrow rings, nose rings, and cheek piercings. As dental professionals at Szmanda Dental Center, we are more concerned with the piercing site of the area around the lips, the lips themselves and the tongue.

Obviously, this is not just a fad, as it has been around for a long time. We want to discourage people from doing it; we want them to be aware from our standpoint, what can happen to their oral health as a side effect from this fashion and realize piercings around and in the oral cavity is a bad idea.

One of the main things Szmanda Dental worries about when we see a tongue ring is chipped teeth. According to WebMD, 47% of people wearing tongue jewelry for 4 or more years have at least one chipped tooth. This tends to happen due to continuous abrasion of the metal or plastic from the tongue ring on enamel causing small fractures. These chips that occur can of course be fixed with fillings, but continuing to wear a tongue ring will most likely break out the filling if could break the enamel to start with. If this happens, most likely a crown will have to be placed, which can be a costly fix.

Not only are dental professionals concerned about this, but some piercing facilities also have a growing concern. A local tattoo and piercing shop, Expressions Ink, has in fact stopped piercing the tongue altogether due to the amount of chipped teeth they were seeing.

Other than cracked or chipped teeth, in accordance to the American Dental Association (ADA), here are other effects to consider prior to piercing your tongue:

  • Excessive drooling due to increased saliva production
  • Infection, swelling and pain
  • Damage to fillings
  • Scar tissue
  • Nerve damage (loss of taste and movement)
  • Hypersensitivity to metals
  • Injuries to gum tissue

One of the above listed items is infection. Remember, the mouth is host to huge amounts of bacteria. It literally is the dirtiest place on the body. Because of this, an oral piercing has the potential of causing heart problems. The ADA warns that oral piercing carries the risk of endocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart valves or tissues. Bacteria can travel through the bloodstream from the piercing site to the heart where it can establish a colony on heart abnormalities.

Another popular piercing on the face is the lip area. Although the actual piercing site heals fast, you have to be careful while healing takes place due to the risk of infection from anything such as food or liquids that come into contact with the area.

Szmanda Dental Center’s concern with a lip piercing is the wear that it can cause on gum tissue. Constant friction with the lip ring causes abrasion of the gum tissue and eventually wears it away. Once its gone, there’s no going back easily. The only way to fix this is to have gum grafts done, which can add up financially.

When gum tissue is worn away, this exposes areas of the teeth that aren’t normally exposed causing sensitivity and also can cause the tooth to loosen due to poor support of surrounding tissue.




And just like tongue piercing, lip rings can chip teeth and also cause nerve damage to the tooth or the lip.

If you choose to have a facial piercing, please be sure to discuss concerns with the piercing facility you plan on having the procedure done at. Discuss sterility, check on health certificates and licenses, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Any professional should be happy and willing to address your concerns.

Please also feel free to ask any questions at Szmanda Dental Center and we will do our best to address them.