Thinking about having your tongue, lip, or cheek pierced? You’ll want to make your decision based on more than just aesthetics. While you might like the look of an oral piercing, having your tongue, lip, or cheek pierced presents some serious health risks. In addition to the potential infection risk that comes with any piercing, oral piercings can do major damage to your gums and teeth.
We suggest choosing an area where your piercing won’t be in direct contact with your teeth and gums. These tips for oral piercings from your dentist in downtown Calgary – Dr. Loreen Wong – will place you better position to make an informed decision for yourself.
Infections, Nerve Damage, and Bleeding
Every piercing carries some risk of infection, regardless of location. When you open a hole in the skin, you create an opportunity for bacteria to enter your bloodstream. So if you do decide to get any type of piercing, be sure to go to an experienced professional who demonstrates strong sanitary habits. Oral piercings are especially high-risk for complications, regardless of who’s doing the piercing.
- The mouth is home to a great many bacteria, which dramatically increases your risk of infection when getting an oral piercing. Wounds in the mouth also take longer to heal, so the window for potential infection is longer.
- Nerve damage is also a key risk, especially for tongue piercings. The numbness caused by nerve damage can make it difficult to eat, drink and speak normally.
- If a blood vessel is damaged during the piercing process, you might also have to deal with prolonged oral bleeding.
- If you’ve ever worn orthodontic equipment or had a piercing in the past, you know that introducing a new object to your mouth can cause temporary drooling. When a piercing causes nerve damage, that temporary drooling can become permanent.
Damage to Your Teeth and Gums
Now, we’ll get into the damage that oral piercings can cause to your teeth and gums. As you might expect, having a piece of metal in constant contact with your teeth and gums can lead to some serious, long-term oral health issues.
- Gum disease is especially prominent in people with oral piercings. Piercings can cause contact injuries to your gums, and lead to the recession of gum tissue over time.
- Periodontitis, in which gum tissue and bone pull away from the teeth is a common side-effect of oral piercings. Over time, periodontitis can lead to loose and even lost teeth.
- Oral piercings also present a major risk to your teeth. It’s very common for oral piercings to cause chipped and damaged teeth. Barbell piercings of the tongue are especially high-risk for causing damage.
- The hard outer layer of your teeth, called enamel, protects your teeth from the tooth decay process that causes cavities. When a metal piercing causes damage to your enamel, it becomes much easier for tooth decay to gain a foothold.
- Oral piercings can make it difficult to perform daily maintenance tasks like brushing and flossing. If you want to avoid cavities, you need the benefits that come with daily flossing and brushing.
- If you do decide to get an oral piercing, be sure to speak with your dentist in Calgary first. Regular checkups and dental cleanings are vital to manage the damage caused by piercings.
When you add it all up, it’s clear that oral piercings pose a major risk to oral health. You can take steps toward trying to manage that risk, but there’s no way to get rid of it completely. Over time, oral piercings will cause damage to your teeth and gums. So why not consider a piercing somewhere other than the mouth area? Opting against oral pierces will lead to fewer emergency trips to your dentist, and better long-term health for your teeth.