Oral piercings have become largely famous among many age groups over the recent years. Women, men of older ages as well as teenagers are increasingly becoming drawn towards getting their tongue and other areas of their mouth pierced. Although they look very trendy according to many, oral piercings can be dangerous and cause multiple health conditions in the long run. Oral piercings, apart from being painful in the beginning can cause dental complications as discussed below.

Complications of Oral Piercing

Compared to other forms of piercings, oral piercings need to be kept very clean and safe. This requires you to maintain a strict hygiene regimen and ensure that you follow it not just when the piercing is new, but forever. Another thing to understand is that oral piercings, unlike other piercings can’t be just taken out on a whim or because you do not like them anymore because the process can get painful and complicated in addition to leaving a permanent hole. Following are complications that can result from oral piercings:

  • Tooth Breakage
    Certain piercings are located close to the gum tissue and can also hurt the root of your teeth. Over time, this can cause your gums to recede you’re your teeth. The nerve can get exposed if the piercing leads to cracking or breakage of your tooth. There is a high possibility of this happening as piercings are mostly made of metal. Once there is a crack or break in the tooth, it may need dental work such as repair filling and root canals.
  • Infections
    There is a lot of bacteria in the mouth. When you get piercings in your tongue, lip or anywhere inside the mouth, there is a tremendous risk of infection because the piercing is constantly in contact with the saliva and this exposed to bacteria. Conditions such as Endocarditis, which is an infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers, can occur because of the bacteria from the mouth entering the bloodstream. We already carry this risk because of cavities that many of us have without us knowing, getting oral piercings increases this risk even further.
  • Gingival Trauma
    Sometimes infections are caused due to lip piercings or piercings close to jaws and gums that come into constant close contact with the gums. This causes scratching, rash, cuts and even wounds that leads to infections.
  • Nickel Reaction
    A lot of mouth piercings contain nickel and many people are unaware that they are allergic to it until they have the piercing in their mouth. Getting an allergic reaction inside your mouth can make things even worse and you may need urgent medical attention.
  • Swallowing of Piercings or Parts
    There have been cases in which people, especially young and teenagers have accidentally swallowed a part of the piercing such as the end of the barbell. Although most piercing studios will tell you that piercings or their parts can pass through stools with ease, there is no guarantee and there can be complications with obstruction or the parts injuring your intestines.
  • Swelling
    Tongue bolts and piercings damages the nerves in the tongue. Some people are more prone to swellings after they get piercings. Extreme swelling can lead to blockage of airways and difficulty in breathing which is an emergency situation.
  • Bifid or Split Tongue
    Dentists have also seen cases in which patients come in with a split tongue that is caused because of a tongue piercing. This looks like a snake’s tongue as there is a split along the length of the tongue.
  • Speech and Chewing Difficulties
    Chewing and talking can become very difficult in the beginning when you get a piercing. If this does not reduce over time, you will use the wrong muscles for both functions. and this can trigger other problems related to jaws and mouth.

Can You Remove an Oral Piercing?

The removal of an oral piercing is not easy. If you have not taken the piercing out by yourself before, you can get help from your dentist to do so. Your mouth and tongue should feel normal after a few days or weeks. Your dentist will monitor to check if the piercing has caused any damage to your teeth or gums. Although the hole left as a result of the piercing removal can get closed without any issues, for some people it can leave a permanent hole. There is a small surgical procedure to close the whole which involves use of local anesthesia. Furthermore, there is also a risk of infection if there is a permanent hole. It is very important that you think of all the potential risks when you decide to get a oral piercing as they are more complicated than a regular ear or nose piercing.

If you have an oral piercing, it’s vital to maintain a regular oral hygiene routine that includes brushing, flossing and checking your piercing to make sure it looks and feels normal. Make sure to discuss with your dentist about the potential complications of oral piercings and then make a decision on whether you should get one.