Oral piercing usually includes two types: tongue piercing and lip piercing. A tongue piercing is a body piercing usually done directly through the center of the tongue, and is the most popular piercing site in the western world after the ear and nostril. A lip piercing is a type of body piercing that penetrates the lips or the area surrounding the lips, which can be pierced in a variety of ways.
Oral piercing can cause pain, swelling, infection, drooling, taste loss, scarring, chipped teeth, and tooth loss. Most dentists discourage oral piercing due to the many risks involved. If you do decide to get an oral piercing it is important to understand the regulations, associated problems and proper maintenance.
The most common dental problems caused by oral piercing are fractured teeth and infection.
Teeth can become chipped and fractured by mouth jewelry while talking, eating, chewing and even sleeping. If a tooth is fractured in the enamel, it may only need a filling. If the fracture goes deeper into the tooth, a root canal or extraction may be necessary.
Since the tongue is covered with bacteria, dentists are finding that oral infections are related to other infections in the body. For instance, when the tongue is punctured for the oral piercing, the bacteria on the tongue can release into the bloodstream and travel to the heart.
Anyone considering oral piercing should talk with their dentist first to make sure that they are practicing good oral hygiene. Good oral hygiene and a commitment to taking care of the piercing are essential in preventing serious infections. To help avoid chipped and fractured teeth, remove the jewelry during eating and sleeping.
Are there serious complications?
While it is not unusual for the tongue to swell after being punctured, in some cases the swelling indicates infection. When that happens, it is possible the swelling will cut off your breathing. In rare cases, doctors may pass a breathing tube through a patient's nose until such an infection passes. Also, rubbing of the barbell on the gums excessively can cause the gums to recede. Any infection can be serious and it is necessary to see a dentist with dental instruments at the first sign of a problem.
Keep it clean
• Use an antiseptic mouthwash after every meal and brush the jewelry the same as you would your teeth.
• After your tongue has healed, take the piercing out every night and brush it to remove any unseen plaque.
• Consider removing the piercing before eating, sleeping, or strenuous activity.