Oral Piercings and Dental Health

October 20, 2020

Oral Piercings

There are two different kinds of oral piercings inside and outside of the mouth. Individuals may have had tongue splitting, uvula pierced, or an oral tattoo procedure completed. Please read below how these can affect your overall health and dental health negatively.

oral piercing of tongue

Oral Piercings and Overall Health

Your overall health can be affected from all of these types listed above since microorganisms can enter into your blood stream from the oral tattoo or piercing site since your mouth. They can also cause:

  • Adverse reactions such as speech or swallowing problems
  • Infections of the heart or liver such as endocarditis
  • Your tongue could swell making it hard to breathe
  • Your piercing could become loose or fall out causing you to possibly choke. Especially with a uvula piercing since it dangles in the very back of your throat
  • You could have an allergic reaction to the metal on the piercing
  • Scar tissue can form
  • Nerve damage can be permanent which can influence your taste or speech negatively

Affects of Oral Piercings on your Dental health

Your dental health may also be affected. See what could happen below from your oral piercing:

  • If you accidentally close down too hard on your piercing or press the piercing onto your teeth, this could cause harm to your tooth structure or restoration
  • Cause gingival gum recession which can cause sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Lead to bone loss especially with a tongue ring along your lower front teeth which could eventually lead to tooth loss
  • A tongue piercing can lead to increased saliva flow and in return cause more calculus to form onto your teeth
  • Piercing can block diagnostic views on dental radiographs if you cannot remove them

Tongue splitting

Tongue splitting divides the tongue into 2 parts along the center that creates a “lizard look.” This is a very dangerous procedure since your tongue contains several blood vessels and can lead to nerve damage or an infection. The American Dental Association does not recommend this procedure.

Girl with tongue splitting and oral dental health problems form piercing.

Oral Tattoos

Oral/lip tattoos are usually placed on the inside of your bottom lip. These do not last long term due to the saliva inside your mouth. Therefore, the tattoo will need to be touched up often and this can damage your blood vessels.

If you already have an oral piercing or tattoo

  • Monitor for any signs or symptoms of an infection and contact your dentist
  • Keep your oral piercing clean and make sure it is not loose
  • Stay away from pushing your piercing onto your teeth
  • Remove your piercing during contact sport activities and wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth
  • If you must keep your piercing please use a plastic option
  • If your teeth become sensitive fluoride treatments, restorative work, or grafting may be indicated

The best option preferred by Dr. Govani is to consider removing your oral piercing before it leads to a dental or medical concern. Remember to brush 2x day with an electric toothbrush using fluoridated toothpaste, floss 1x day, and keep up with your routine exams and cleanings. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!

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