ALTHOUGH ORAL PIERCINGS’ ORIGINS TECHNICALLY GO BACK TO ANCIENT MAYAN AND AZTEC tradition and religion, this unique form of accessorizing didn’t really become a means of self-expression until just a few decades ago.
As with traditional earrings, oral piercings come in a variety of styles including rings, barbells, and studs. However, piercing your tongue, cheek, or lips involves a lot more risk than piercing your earlobes. Before considering having any sort of oral piercing, get some advice from Dr. Brei and take a few minutes to learn about the risks…
- Infection: Our mouths are filled with zillions of bacteria, putting you at significant risk of infection after an oral piercing.
- Prolonged Bleeding: Sometimes blood vessels are punctured by the needle during piercing which can result in serious blood loss.
- Pain and Swelling: Both pain and swelling are typical side effects of oral piercings. In some extreme cases, the tongue can swell up so much that it can block your airway.
- Chipped or Cracked Teeth: When a tooth makes contact with oral jewelry it can often lead to tooth damage.
- Injury To Your Gums: Metal jewelry can injure your gum tissue and cause your gums to recede, putting you at greater risks of decay and gum disease, and leaving your mouth much less attractive.
- Interference With Normal Oral Function: The presence of jewelry in your mouth can cause excessive saliva flow, make it more difficult to chew or swallow, and impede your ability to speak correctly.
- Blood-borne Diseases: The National Institutes of Health have identified oral piercings as possible factors in transmitting hepatitis B, C, D, and G.
- Endocarditis: The wound that is created from an oral piercing gives the bacteria in your mouth the opportunity to enter your bloodstream where they can travel to the heart, putting you at risk of endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart valves and tissues.
Because there are so many risks surrounding oral jewelry, even after the initial wound has healed, the safest decision you can make is to avoid oral piercings altogether. However, if you or a loved one has an oral piercing, make sure you come in and see us at the first sign of pain or trouble so that any potential ‘bigger’ problems can be avoided.
Are you a parent with a child who may be considering oral piercing? Yes, we understand… Sometimes kids won’t listen to a parent, but they may listen to a healthcare professional. Don’t hesitate to contact our practice and ask for our help if you feel like it would be appropriate. We’re here to help.