Piercing the tongue, lip or cheek for jewelry additions have become trendy forms of self-expression.  Is your stylish teen thinking about getting jewelry for his or her tongue, lip or cheek?  At Dentistry for Children, we care for babies, toddlers, grade-schoolers, middle-schoolers, Junior High and High Schoolers.

Naturally, our focus is on dental well being as well as your child’s overall health.  However, are you aware that Oral Piercings and jewelry can damage both?

Thinking about Oral Piercing?  Think Again.

Infections and Swellings Can Easily Occur With Lip, Tongue, Teeth and other Piercing.

Lip Jewelry Can Cause Serious Oral and Dental Problems.

We are pretty sure that the trendiest teens out there might not appreciate the information in this blog.  However, if they read it, or if you share the details, we might get them to think twice before risking oral piercing.  In our previous blog, we addressed the trendy new forms of self-expression involving jeweled teeth.

It also introduced our coverage of several trends of oral jewelry.  Today we follow up with the dangers of dental and oral trends. We are addressing difficulties of piercings in the lips, gums, tongues and all soft tissues of the mouth.  All of these affect the overall oral health of your child and directly or indirectly, your child’s teeth.  Although this blog stands alone, it is really a Part II in our series of dangerous dental trends.

Warnings for the High Schooler Today and Young Adult Tomorrow

Obviously, the major point of this blog is to inform you and your teens about the unknown or under-advertised risks involved in these dangerous dental trends.  Suppose your teen does not intend to experiment with these at the high school and junior high level?  Well, we feel that learning about the risks involved in piercings prepares them for the temptations of future dental decorations.  They have become very popular among young adults both in college and in the working world.

After Oral Piercing:  Then Come the Pitfalls

Almost everyone focuses on the importance of early antiseptic care with initial stages of piercings.  “Complications associated with oral piercing include swelling, bleeding, infection…”

However, dentists are also concerned about life after the piercing and the pitfalls presented by the jewelry.  Let’s face it; stylists tell us that Piercing is generally done so that fashion-forward folks can exhibit certain forms of jewelry.  And here is where we want to emphasize that certain risks never go away, even after healing the initial wounds of the piercing.

Oral Piercing Pitfall Number 1:  Beware of Chipped Teeth

Did you know that you can chip or fracture a tooth from the Chips and fractures jewelry hitting your teeth?  The pitfalls of fractures and chips have happened to teens and young people even when they sleep.  Less private are chipping accidents that can happen while you are eating or in the middle of a conversation.

Now, likewise the tongue is very active and you might discover yourself playing with the barbell, ball, rod or rhinestone, habitually and unconsciously.  Look out for developing sore spots which develop from continuous irritation, as well as other possible damage.

Yes, we can repair chips and fractures in teeth with crowns or fillings.  What makes us sad is that the jewelry can also inflict breaks that cause root canals or extractions.

Oral Piercing Pitfall Number 2:  Gums Damage

Ridicule is Hard to Live with When Your Piercing Goes Out of Style

Piercings: When the Mouth Jewelry Trend Ends, Others Could Make You Feel Embarrassed or Ashamed of the Piercing and Remaining Scars.

Did you know that “oral jewelry can rub against your gums, causing your gums to pull away from teeth…”  In turn, this can expose the actual root of a tooth.  Then the damage can “lead to sensitive teeth and require procedures like root canals or extraction.”

 Oral Piercing Pitfall Number 3:  Caution Against Swelling

You might not have ever heard about this one of our list of pitfalls.  Swelling often happens.  The danger occurs when your tongue swells up so much, your airway becomes blocked.  Why would you risk this for a fashion statement?

Oral Piercing Pitfall Number 4:  Not-So-Nice Nerve damage

“Temporary or permanent nerve damage can occur, making your tongue or mouth numb. Nerve damage can also affect your sense of taste and how you move your mouth.”

Oral Piercing Pitfall Number 5:  Blood Stream Bacteria

You know from early training that the mouth breeds bacteria.  Did you know that when it is wounded during piercing, bacteria can enter your bloodstream?  We doubt you will find this out at your local tattoo parlor.

“Poor brushing habits and touching the piercing with unclean hands can also lead to infection.”

 Oral Piercing Pitfall Number 6:  Blood-borne diseases

We are warning you now, “Piercing instruments that are not properly sterilized can transmit diseases such as hepatitis.”  The place you go to get pierced will probably look clean.  You won’t even realize for a while that your tongue piercing gave you hepatitis. (Ew!)

If You already Took the Risk:  Our Favorite Post-piercing tips

Piercing Jewelry in the Mouth Can Be Responsible For Dental Damage and Even Loss of Teeth.

Popularized By Rock Stars, Lip Piercing is a Dangerous Trend for Teens.

We would be remiss if we did not at least mention some tips for trendy teens who already followed the trend.  “Follow these tips to minimize the risk of infection and damage:”

  • Clean Up Often: You must use antiseptic mouthwash after every meal.  This is in addition to your twice-daily brushing and flossing.  “And make sure to brush your jewelry to remove any unseen plaque!”
  • Size of Jewelry Matters: Your piercer will typically use a larger barbell in your piercing.  This procedure allows space for swelling.  We advise you to avoid pitfalls by switching that initial fitting for a smaller barbell.  It will cause less damage.
  • Plastic Helps You Play Safe:  When the oral piercing has healed, you need not wear it all the time.  Remove it to avoid the pitfalls inherent before playing sports, eating and sleeping.  If the piercing is in the tongue, please get a plastic tongue ring retainer.  It will plug the hole for you when you remove the metal jewelry.  It will be much easier on your teeth.

At the beginning of this blog, we asked you to think and think again.  Is all this risk worthy of the effort and expense?  How will the pitfalls affect your life? How long will the trends even remain fashionable?  Is it possible that the piercings could become an extreme embarrassment later in life?

We certainly hope you and your child will make the right decisions and save the beautiful teeth you worked so hard to grow and protect.