Facial and Oral Piercings, Are They Worth the Risk?
With the popularity of body art, today, we are continually surprised at what our patients don't know about the risks of facial and oral piercings. While we are sure that they receive some warnings and instruction from reputable piercing specialists, research shows over 57 percent were unaware of the dangers.
The mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria (good and bad). All piercings that are in contact with the mouth are especially prone to infection due to the bacteria present. It is paramount that proper sterilization and infection control are used when choosing a piercer. Tongue piercings can cause permanent nerve damage which may affect the function of the tongue (slurred speech), numbness and sense of taste. Hemorrhaging, severe infection and swelling, in general, are very prevalent for piercings. Healing can take several weeks to several months, depending on their location.
One of our concerns, as dental providers, is damage that occurs to dentition and gums from tongue and lip piercings. In a study by the University of Alberta, 14 percent of the participants had fractured teeth and 26 percent had gum recession. Dr. Branen says "It's very common, when a piercing is placed in the mouth to constantly play with it. The repetitive action causes irritation and bone loss, eventually leading to significant gum recession." Metal jewelry striking the teeth and restorations, damaging both, can even happen while sleeping.
Consider carefully how you bedazzle yourself; use only competent piercers. We suggest you use your healthy smile as your fashion statement!
Lake Grove Dental
16455 Boones Ferry Rd.
Lake Oswego, OR 97035