Dangers with Oral Piercing

Oral piercing, a big teenage fad, can cause serious problems to oral health. Teenagers often don’t learn about proper care, the risks, and dangers of tongue rings or labrets (lower lip piercings). Improper care can lead to infection, swelling, drooling, scarring, speech impediments, chipped teeth, and tooth loss.

Because the mouth is host to several strands of bacteria, infections caused by piercings may infiltrate the bloodstream and cause serious health issues.  In some cases, infections can make the tongue to swell to constrict airflow. When receiving a piercing, sterile instruments should be used to prevent serious infections such as HIV or hepatitis.

The most common problems with oral piercings, chipping or fracturing teeth, result from the jewelry. These injuries to teeth can occur while talking, eating, sleeping, or chewing on the jewelry. Minor tooth chipping can be corrected with fillings, crowns, or dental bonding. Severe injury to teeth may require root canals or extraction. Plastic jewelry causes less damage and infections than metal. Surgical-grade stainless steel should be chosen over other metals to prevent allergic reactions.

Oral piercings take approximately three to four weeks to heal. Once the pierced site has healed, the jewelry can be removed for short periods of time without the hole closing.  To protect teeth, remove jewelry while eating or sleeping. While the site is healing, brush the jewelry and teeth after every meal and rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash. Once the site has healed, remove the piercing and brush it to remove unseen plaque.

I’m Dr. Randy LaFrom, and I advise my patients to forego oral piercings due to damage they cause teeth, as well as oral and overall health. However, if you chip or fracture a tooth as a result of an oral piercing, contact my San Jose dentist office at (408)996-8595 to schedule an appointment.

~ by cupertinodentist on May 13, 2011.

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