Oral piercings continue to grow in popularity among men and women. While recognized as a form of self-expression, they often cause serious complications. The American Dental Association advises against any oral or perioral piercing due to the adverse health risks. Here’s all you need to know about the threat they pose to your oral and overall health.

Oral Piercings Overview

Oral piercings involve making holes anywhere on the tongue, lips, or cheeks to place jewelry. Some steadfast body modifiers even pierce the back of their throats. The jewelry comes in various styles like rings, barbells, and studs. If that sounds risky, that’s because it is. So if you’re considering an oral piercing, we recommend consulting with Dr. Long and your trusted team at Tracey Dental before having the procedure done.

What Are the Risks of Oral Piercings?

Oral piercings come with many oral and overall health risks, including the following:

  • Pain and Swelling: Oral piercings carry the risk of pain and swelling, which in some severe cases, makes it difficult to breathe. If you’re having trouble breathing, make sure to seek medical attention immediately.
  • Bleeding: In some cases, a blood vessel is accidentally punctured during piercing, which can cause severe bleeding and blood loss. If you experience uncontrolled bleeding, make sure to seek emergency medical care.
  • Infection: The mouth houses millions of oral bacteria, increasing the risk of infection around oral piercings. Moreover, touching the jewelry or placing objects in your mouth can cause infection.
  • Endocarditis: Piercings sometimes allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream and travel to the heart. That can result in a serious condition called endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart valves or tissue.
  • Nerve Damage: Some patients experience a numb tongue, usually caused by temporary nerve damage. However, the nerve damage can be permanent in some cases, which affects the sense of taste and mouth movement.
  • Chipped or Fractured Teeth: Biting down on jewelry can chip or fracture a tooth or restoration such as a dental crown. If you sustain damage to a tooth or restoration, make sure you have it repaired right away to prevent complications.
  • Injury to the Gums: Jewelry can harm your soft gum tissue and cause gum recession. Recessed gums leave you at an elevated risk of gum disease and leave your tooth roots exposed and vulnerable to decay.
  • Impaired Oral Functions: Some patients find it challenging to speak with clarity. Moreover, oral jewelry can cause excessive saliva flow or drooling and can interfere with chewing and swallowing.
  • Choking: A common risk of oral piercings is a piece of jewelry breaking off. That poses a significant choking hazard.

Caring for Oral Piercings

If you still plan on getting an oral piercing, you’ll need to keep the area clean and free of food particles by rinsing with mouthwash after every meal. Avoid smoking, playing with or rotating your jewelry, chewing on your nails, placing any objects in your mouth, clicking the jewelry against your teeth, or pushing against the piercing with your tongue. It’s best to remove your jewelry when eating or sleeping or when involved in physical or contact sports activities.

Make sure you brush and floss regularly to keep your mouth clean and healthy. Don’t forget to visit Tracey Dental for your routine dental exams and cleanings. Dr. Long will monitor your oral health and check your piercings to ensure the surrounding teeth and gums stay healthy. If at any time you notice any symptoms of infection, including swelling, pain, chills, fever, or a red streak around the piercing site, it’s essential to seek emergency care immediately!

Quality Dental Care in McKinney, TX

We, at Tracey Dental, don’t recommend getting oral piercings, but we respect your decision and are here to support your oral health. Dr. Long and his outstanding team will do everything possible to ensure you maintain a healthy smile. Call us and schedule your appointment today!