Oral piercings—piercings of the tongue, cheeks, and lips—are becoming more and more popular. If you are considering this type of piercing, be sure to consult with our dentist for guidance and advice that can help prevent long-term complications.
How Oral Piercings Can Affect Your Oral Health
Oral piercings, like any type of wound, can have difficulty healing. Perhaps the biggest risk is that of infection. Piercings in the mouth are more likely to become infected because of the amount of bacteria that normally exists in the mouth. Until it heals, your piercing must be kept thoroughly clean. This includes making sure the jewelry does not collect food particles that allow the bacteria in your mouth to multiply. However, while the piercing heals, it’s more difficult to clean your mouth because of discomfort. This combination can be very detrimental to your oral health.
Jewelry in your mouth can also cause damage to your oral tissues. A tongue piercing can damage your teeth if the jewelry strikes them on a regular basis as you talk and eat. Jewelry in a pierced lip or cheek could injure or irritate the gums. In general, oral piercings significantly increase your risk of infection, tooth decay, tooth damage, and gum disease.
Signs There Might Be a Problem
If you diligently follow the instructions provided by your piercer, and if you are sure to choose a piercer who uses sanitary materials and methods, you will greatly reduce the risks of your piercing. However, during your healing process, look out for the following symptoms, as well as any other form of discomfort or any symptoms that seem unusual:
- Swelling or redness
- Excessive bleeding
- Discomfort that lasts a long time or becomes more severe over time
- Pus at the site of the piercing
Any of these problems could indicate that infection has set in, or that there is another problem with the piercing such as an allergy to the jewelry. You should see a doctor or dentist if you believe your mouth has become infected. Your piercer should also provide instructions about what to do if you experience any unusual side effects.
If you’re considering oral piercings, make an appointment with our dentist today to talk through the factors.