The decision to get an oral piercing is a personal one.  Being independent and choosing to express your personal style is something that teens and young adults experiment with in a number of ways.

While you may think there is no definitive answer to the answer “Why not get a piercing if I want one”, there are several things that you should consider before piercing or splitting your tongue or other areas of your mouth.  After reading this information you will be able to decide if, “it looks cool” is reason enough to get that piercing.  These are some of the issues you may face when having a piercing installed:

The Pain and Swelling for Starters

In general, punctures in the mouth are painful.  Initially there is swelling which could block your airway.  The incision or piercing made could heal improperly leading to unsightly and uncomfortable forming of a keloid and scarring at the site.

The moisture in the mouth lends itself to bacterial growth, possibly leading to infection.  The bacteria on the piercing jewelry can also further encourage the growth of bacteria.  For this reason, if you must get a piercing it is best to stick to synthetic materials when choosing the jewelry for your oral piercing. Cellulitis is also possible and could develop into Ludwig’s angina leading to rapid spreading around the mouth and then around your heart.

Damage to Your Teeth and Tongue

A piercing in the mouth can cause increased salivation resulting in drooling.  Your piercing can also cause damage to your teeth from bacterial growth or repeated contact with the jewelry itself.  An abscess could develop on the tongue which can be painful and lead to an infection.

Speech impediments and Nerve Damage

In piercing the mouth, whether it be the tongue, cheeks or lips interference of speech and eating can occur.  Temporary nerve damage that causes numbness in the tongue at the time of piercing can become permanent. You could also develop a decreased sense of taste and impaired functioning of your mouth.

Professionals Warn Against Oral Piercings

The American Dental Association advises against oral piercings as they offer no benefits but come with negative risks to oral health.

Caring for an Oral Piercing

If you are certain that piercing is right for you, ensure that you actively look for signs of infection and other issues after the piercing is installed and for the life of your piercing.

  • Clean your mouth with an alcohol-free mouth rinse.
  • Brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristly brush.
  • Floss regularly.
  • Watch for signs of infection such as continuing pain and swelling, fever or chills.
  • Thoroughly clean the piercing site and jewelry after each meal.
  • Keep your regular dental appointments.

Contact us at the dental office of Stephen A Coates, DDS in Long Beach, CA to make an appointment to check the status of your piercing and for information about caring for your oral piercing.  If you notice any signs of infection, contact your dentist immediately.

You can call us at 562-434-6414 or request an appointment here.