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Why You May Want to Hold off on Oral Piercings

If you have ever wanted to make a fashion statement by having an oral piercing, whether on your lips or tongue, take the time to evaluate the health risks involved. The mouth is naturally home to millions of bacteria, and this moist, warm environment is the perfect setting for germ production. This makes open wounds a safety risk, so wearing metal jewelry in the mouth is much riskier than piercing your ears. If you have done your homework, and still would like to have an oral piercing done, please be aware of the following risks, and remain on the lookout for any of the following signs:

Nerve damage

The tongue can become numb from nerve damage after a piercing, and while this effect is usually temporary it can sometimes be permanent. This can affect how your taste buds, or how you move your mouth. Not only that, but if there is damage to the blood vessels in your mouth you can lose a lot of blood.

Bacterial infection

Because the mouth is a haven for bacteria, it is also the perfect environment for infection. The problem with infections is that they can become life threatening if not properly treated. And if the tongue swells because of the piercing, it can block your breathing airway.

Oral damage

People with piercings often develop the habit of playing with the piercing with the tongue or biting on them. This can injure the gums and even crack or scratch sensitive teeth. Piercings are also capable of damaging dental fillings from constant irritation.

Metal hypersensitivity

People can sometimes experience allergic reactions from the metal used in piercing jewelry.

Excess saliva

Drooling can happen when the piercing increases saliva production and as your mouth reacts to the metal. While drooling isn’t dangerous obviously, it does rather defeat the purpose of your fashion statement!

X-ray blockage

When you go to your dental checkup and need to have X-rays done, it is possible that your metal jewelry can block X-rays at the site where the jewelry is located. This may interfere with getting a proper evaluation.

If you do get an oral piercing, make sure to properly vet your piercing studio to make sure that they are certified, that they take sanitation measures and that they take your health seriously.

As always, our goal is to help you have a healthy smile, not just an attractive one. If you have any concerns, we invite you to visit with our dedicated dentist, Dr. Wynatte Chu. You can reach our dental team at one of our locations nearest you:

Westport location: 203.984.2281
New York City location: 212.349.0760.

Dr. Chu

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