If you have a child, it’s likely you’ll soon be the parent of a teenager. There is something magical and magnetic that happens between teenagers and piercings. Prepare yourself. About 14% of people in the United States have a piercing other than their earlobes. Setting your personal feelings aside, we invite you to get to know some health facts about oral piercings.
What is an Oral Piercing?
Oral piercings are small holes in the lip, tongue, cheek, or other soft tissue of the mouth. Jewelry is placed through the hole for aesthetic purposes. Although the ADA officially advises against oral piercings, that isn’t likely to stop people who have made an informed decision to get one.
There are a few risks that come with oral piercings. First, your mouth is filled with bacteria. The bacteria are great for helping break food and getting the digestion process started. However, they are not good for oral piercings.
Oral bacteria can get into the piercing before it heals and cause infections and/or swelling. Infections can lead to jewelry removal and, sometimes, a visit to the doctor. Swelling can lead to a blocked airway, making it very difficult or even impossible to breathe.
Tongue piercings have specific risks. Many vessels in the tongue can bleed excessively when the piercing is done and if the wound is reopened at any time. Tongue piercings can also cause nerve damage. Often, the nerve damage is temporary; however, it can sometimes be permanent. It causes loss of the sense of taste and limited mouth movement.
What about the teeth?
You can dramatically decrease tooth damage due to oral piercings if you choose piercing jewelry made of a softer material than the popular choice, steel or other metal. Clicking metal jewelry against the teeth, which is extremely common, causes gum injury; cracked, scratched, or sensitive teeth; and possible filling damage.
50% of people with oral piercings experience gum recession due to piercings. 26% suffer from damaged teeth. Along with the damage, oral piercings make it very hard or impossible for dentists to get proper X-rays. That diminishes the dentist’s ability to diagnose problems that may or may not have been caused by the piercing.
Ask Your Children’s Dentist
We do not mean to scare you with this information. We want you to feel informed before visiting a professional piercing specialist. Risks exist, but you can get any questions or reservations you have addressed by your kid’s dentist. Contact us to make an appointment with the dentist!