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If you are at all familiar with oral piercings, you know that they are riskier than just having your ears pierced. By nature, the mouth is a haven for colonies of bacteria, and some of them are pretty bad (for example, the kind that cause tooth decay and gum disease). This makes open wounds in the mouth–such as an oral piercing–more of a safety risk no matter if you are choosing to wear a metal ring, stud, or barbell to wear. So, if you are considering piercing your tongue or lip, please consider the following risks.

  • Bacterial infection—because the mouth is a veritable breeding ground for bacteria, it also makes it susceptible to infection. And if the tongue becomes swollen as a reaction to a piercing, it can block your airway by inhibiting breathing.
  • Oral damage—playing with the metal piercing becomes a habit for some people, such as using the tongue to tap the piercing, or biting it, which can injure the gums and even crack or scratch sensitive teeth. Metal piercing jewelry can also damage dental fillings.
  • Nerve damage–after a tongue piercing, the tongue can become numb from some nerve damage. Typically, this numbness is temporary, but it can sometimes be permanent. If there is damage to the blood vessels in your mouth you can lose a lot of blood.
  • Metal hypersensitivity—not everyone reacts to the metal in piercing jewelry, but you can experience allergic reactions from the metal used.

As you can see, while oral piercings are still popular that doesn’t mean they are any safer. If you do decide to move forward with a piercing, vet your piercing studio carefully. Determine whether or not they are certified, how seriously they take sanitation, and how serious they are about your oral health.

As always, we want to help you have a healthy smile and not just a fashionable one. So If you have any concerns, we invite you to visit with our dentist, Dr. Thomas Wold. You can reach our dedicated dental team in Bend, Oregon at 541.389.1301 today.