Oral piercings have grown in popularity among men and women over the years. Unfortunately, this form of self-expression comes with a risk of serious complications. That’s why the American Dental Association (ADA) advises against any oral or perioral piercings. Here’s all you need to know about oral piercings and their adverse side effects.
What Are Oral Piercings?
Oral piercings are cosmetic piercings made anywhere on the tongue, lips, cheeks, or even the back of the throat. Oral jewelry comes in various styles, including studs, rings, and barbells. If that sounds risky, it’s because it is! So if you’re thinking about getting an oral piercing, we recommend talking to your trusted team at Dental Care of North Carolina. We will demonstrate all the risks involved so that you can make an informed decision.
What Are the Risks of Oral Piercings?
Millions of bacteria live in the human mouth, which increases the risk of infection around oral piercing sites. In severe cases, the injury created during piercing opens a pathway for bacteria to enter the bloodstream, potentially causing serious health complications, including endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart valves or tissue. Moreover, accidentally puncturing a blood vessel during piercing can cause significant bleeding and blood loss.
Oral piercings can cause pain and swelling of the mouth and tongue, which, in severe cases, can block the airways and interfere with breathing. Some patients find it difficult to speak with clarity, chew, or swallow, while some report numbness of the tongue, usually caused by temporary nerve damage. Unfortunately, the nerve damage can be permanent, affecting mouth movement and interfering with the sense of taste.
The presence of jewelry in the mouth can cause many problems. It often breaks off, posing a choking risk. Moreover, biting down on jewelry can chip or fracture teeth or restorations such as dental crowns and fillings. Mouth ornaments can also injure the soft gum tissue and cause gum recession. That increases the risk of tooth sensitivity and periodontal (gum) disease and exposes the tooth roots, leaving them vulnerable to decay.
Caring for Oral Piercings
If you plan on getting an oral piercing despite the risk involved, make sure you rinse with mouthwash after every meal to keep the area clean. Avoid chewing on your nails, playing with the oral jewelry or clicking it against your teeth, smoking, or pushing against the piercing with your tongue. It’s best to remove your oral jewelry during sleep, meals, or contact sports.
Quality Dental Care in Morrisville and Greensboro
Visit Dental Care of North Carolina to learn more about the risks of oral piercings. If you decide to place jewelry in your mouth, our team is here to support your oral health every step of the way. We are all about maintaining long-term healthy smiles. Call us and schedule your appointment today!