There are several good reasons to get an oral piercing. Maybe it’s particularly flattering on your face. Maybe it helps develop your look and style more completely. There’s no denying that it’s an excellent form of self-expression, and a sure way to set yourself apart. But what are you getting into, specifically health-wise, when committing to an oral piercing?
What Are The Dangers?
Although there are many things out there more dangerous than a ring through your lip, an oral piercing comes with its fair share of risk. Some of the issues that an oral piercing puts you at risk for are:
Infection– Because of all of the types of bacteria regularly present in your mouth, an oral piercing is always at risk of becoming infected. This is more so than other types of piercings. The moist environment of your mouth is very conducive to the growth of microorganisms and infection-causing bacteria. Infections in the mouth spread very quickly. If your piercing becomes infected it can spread to your tongue, which can swell very quickly and make breathing difficult. It’s often very tempting for people with oral piercing to play with them or touch them often. This sort of interaction with the piercing only further facilitates the spread of infection. Again, because of the nature of the environment your mouth creates it is often difficult to clear up infections once you’ve developed them. There is also a risk that bacteria in your mouth could enter the bloodstream through the piercing and cause endocarditis, a serious complication that causes inflammation of the heart.
Disease transmission– Piercings make it considerably easier for diseases like hepatitis to be spread to you.
Nerve damage– If the piercing isn’t done correctly it can cause severe nerve damage. Many people experience a numbness of the tongue following a new piercing. This is because of nerve damage, which is often temporary. However, in some cases this nerve damage can be permanent. There is also a chance that you hit a blood vessel when having your tongue pierced, causing severe bleeding.
Teeth– It’s very common for people with oral piercings to play with them using their teeth. What becomes a seemingly harmless habit can actually be very damaging to teeth. The metal piercing can chip teeth, or corrode enamel with repeated contact. Nearly 50% of people who have had their tongue pierced experience a chipped tooth within the first year. It can also scratch, crack and cause sensitivity in the teeth.
Periodontal disease– People with oral piercing have been proven to be at a higher risk for developing gum disease. Again, a piercing acts as just another pocket for bacteria to rest and breed. If you do decide to get an oral piercing you will need to be particularly adament about your dental hygiene habits.
If you already have an oral piercing and have experienced any of the complications above, be sure to see a doctor and have it looked at! A dentist can also be very helpful in treating any issue a piercing has caused. If you have an oral piercing and are feeling ill and have recently suffered irritation at the piercing site seek medical attention immediately!
Whether or not you choose to get an oral piercing is completely up to you. Just be sure you understand all the risks involved before you do! Call Dr. D’Alfonso of Lakeway Center For Cosmetic and Family Dentistry today!