Well, there are worse things, yes, but piercings do horrify us sometimes. What do oral piercings mean for your child’s dental health?
Talk to your teen about it.
When you see a friend or a classmate sporting an oral piercing, casually chat about it with your teenager to see if that’s something that is on their radar in a positive or negative way. You know your child best but it’s best not to make assumptions. Having multiple ear piercings doesn’t mean a tongue piercing would follow. Be curious instead of critical to encourage openness. Ask your child to ask us for advice– we’re the experts, not the piercers!
A mouth piercing can be very detrimental to oral health in some circumstances and, when present, they require special care and attention.
What are the risks?
Jewelry in the mouth tends to go in the lips or in the tongue and these are highly mobile areas that can be prone to interact intimately with the teeth and gums. Anyone ever accidentally bite their own tongue, lips, or cheeks? You may accidentally bite down on your tongue stud and crack a tooth. Or if you unconsciously repeatedly knock a lip ring against your teeth, that could also cause chipping damage to your teeth, gums and fillings. These are just examples but we see lots of wear and tear related to these items.
This is not to mention that the risk of a fresh piercing causing an infection increases tenfold inside the moist environment of the mouth. There’s a ton of bacteria that can cause complications for an open wound in the mouth.
You could also develop an allergic reaction or oversensitivity to metals at the pierced site. An infection or reaction like this can cause your tongue to swell and may block your airway. This can be a life threatening emergency.
Numbness in the tongue is normal after a piercing, but there are cases when nerve damage becomes permanent, which can diminish your sense of taste and possibly tongue movement.
Already have an oral piercing?
You’ll have to take off your piercing during your dental appointments. They’re in the way of all dental equipment and can distort some x-rays we take to diagnose cavities or other conditions.
Take note of how the jewelry moves when you drink or talk. Don’t make a habit of clicking it against your teeth. Make sure your studs and fasteners are tight to reduce the risk of swallowing/choking or accidentally biting down on dislodged jewelry. It is probably safest to take it off when you eat and sleep.
Brush and floss daily and use a mouthwash to keep the site as clean and as free as possible of any food particles. You may even want to swab the area around any piercing with a cotton tip soaked in antimicrobial mouthrinse.
And, while these recommendations above are meant to support those who have made the choice to have an oral piercing, our strongest recommendation would be to remove it completely as the risks seem to far outweigh any perceived benefit from a dental and oral health perspective.
About Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan, the offices of Drs. Plunkett, Ralstrom, Makowski, Thanasas, Ker, and Associates
Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan have specialized in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics since 1968. Our family-friendly and newly renovated office gives patients and families a more comfortable and consistent experience with dentistry from the very beginning. Our pediatric dentists treat children from newborn to 18 years of age while our orthodontists provide care for both children and adults and are proud to be Premier Providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen services. The ability to treat all patients with compassion and individuality, including those that may have special needs reaches beyond our facility, which has treatment rooms available for children who require additional privacy and customized care options. We pioneered valued hospital affiliations to allow dental services to be performed at DMC Children’s Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital, when appropriate or necessary, and our specialists are also proud to be on staff at Henry Ford and Beaumont hospitals.