How Safe Are Oral Piercings?

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If you are thinking about getting an oral piercing, please be aware of the risks associated with them. While they are popular and trendy in some fashion arenas and seem like a”cool”form of self-expression, they can also cause dental issues. To avoid damaging your healthy smile, please consider the following factors:

First, oral piercings can result in inflammation and even damage to the nerves at the piercing site. If the piercing metal constantly touches the gums, the gums may pull away, allowing the teeth to chip or fracture. In fact, a Journal of the American Dental Association study cautioned that tongue and lip piercings can cause tooth loss. And with severe gum disease, or periodontitis, the layer of gum tissue and jawbone create pockets as they pull back from the teeth, making the teeth loose (and potentially fall out or needing to be removed).

So, if you have assessed all possible dental health risks and still want an oral piercing, we advise that you take extra care of the piercing site and follow all the healing directions given to you by your piercing professional. It can take four to six weeks to heal a tongue piercing and up to two months for a lip piercing. Be on the lookout for signs that the piercing is not healing properly.

Signs of a Piercing Going Wrong

  • Tearing or bleeding of the tissue after the piercing has healed, an abscess at the site, or a low grade fever that isn’t getting better.
  • A thickening and darkening of the gums around the piercing site.
  • Tenderness, redness, or swelling in the gums that isn’t healing.
  • Yellow or green discharge from the site (white is normal).

Our goal is to keep your smile healthy, so if you have any questions or concerns about an oral piercing, we invite you to contact our office for a visit with our dedicated dentist, Dr. Kimberlee Karey. Our caring dental team in Ann Arbor, Michigan can be reached at 734.668.6612 today!