Oral Piercings: What You Should Know
Oral piercings are a popular form of self-expression. While people think they look cool, they can be hazardous to your health. That’s because your mouth contains millions of bacteria, and infection and swelling often occur with mouth piercings. For instance, your mouth and tongue could swell so much that you close off your airway or you could possibly choke if part of the jewelry breaks off in your mouth. Oral piercing could also lead to more serious infections, like hepatitis or endocarditis. Here’s what you should consider before going under the needle.
What are oral piercings?
Oral piercings are any piercings of the tongue, lips, cheek or uvula. Like any other piercing, a needle is used to create the opening through which the jewelry is housed. As with pierced ears, the metal jewelry used in oral piercings comes in different styles, including studs, barbells and rings. However, piercing your tongue, lips or cheek involves greater health risks than piercing your ears. Before having any part of your mouth pierced, you should seek advice from your dentist.
What are the possible risks involved with oral piercings?
You may not be aware of the potential side effects of oral piercings. These include:
If you experience any of these issues, see a healthcare provider. Also, get help if you just feel that something isn’t right.
What are some safety tips for getting an oral piercing?
If you’ve decided to get an oral piercing, make sure you’re up to date on vaccines for hepatitis B and tetanus. Pick a piercing shop that is reputable, clean and well managed. Look for a piercer who has a valid and up-to-date license, which indicates he or she was specially trained. The piercer should wash their hands with germ-killing soap, wear fresh disposable gloves, and use sterilized tools or ones that are thrown away after one use. You’ll want to make sure that the people who work in the shop have been vaccinated against Hepatitis B, and that the shop doesn’t use a piercing gun. You always want to make sure they are using a needle that has never been used before and that the jewelry is made of surgical steel, solid gold, or platinum.
How long do oral piercings last?
As long as your mouth stays free of infection and your oral piercings do not interfere with normal function, they can stay in your mouth indefinitely. Just be sure to see your dentist at the first sign of pain or problems, in addition to your regular checkups. Because of the risks involved even after the initial wound has healed, such as damage to the teeth or jewelry that becomes loose and could be ingested, your safest bet is to avoid oral piercings altogether.
Do you have any questions about oral piercings? Call Westermeier Martin Dental care to schedule an appointment with your dentist 716-655-5000 or request an appointment online.