Oral piercings are becoming a fashion trend when it comes to body jewelry, such as earrings. But it’s important to remember that piercings on the tissues of the mouth–tongue, cheeks, and lips–are riskier than earring piercings. Essentially, this is due to the millions of oral bacteria that live in the mouth, and have to be repeatedly cleared away with brushing and flossing. Meanwhile, their presence makes you more susceptible to infection from a piercing.
Other risks vary from serious blood loss during the piercing if a blood vessel was punctured accidentally during the procedure. If your tongue piercing causes swelling in the tongue it may block your airway so that you can’t breathe. More common risks of piercings, however, is damage to the teeth from the metal. It can cause chips and cracks and even damage crowns and dental fillings. Even gum disease can arise if the metal causes them to recede. If your metal piercing constantly stimulates your saliva production, you may have trouble speaking, chewing and swallowing, and drool.
Oral piercings also place you at risk for diseases such as hepatitis, and endocarditis. These are blood born illnesses where the bacteria travels through the piercing hole through the bloodstream. Endocarditis is an inflammation of the heart valve and tissues. Not everyone is aware of these risks when it comes time to get an oral piercing. Most are happy when the wound heals after piercing. But ongoing care and maintenance are vital when you have mouth jewelry. So, if you present symptoms such as pain and swelling, fever, chills, or red streaks from the piercing site, please call our office or your doctor right away for treatment.
We highly recommend that you speak with our dentist before you take the plunge and get an oral piercing. If you have any questions about your smile, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our dental team at 207-775-6348. Dr. Paul Best, and our team at Prosthodontics Associates, P.A. in Portland, Maine, are always here for your smile!