Can Oral Piercings Damage Your Teeth | Asheville Dental | Saunders DDS
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    Can Oral Piercings Damage Your Teeth?

    by Saunders DDS on July 21, 2016

    Oral piercings have become very popular among teens and adults alike—from tongue barbells to lip rings to even getting the connective tissue in your mouth pierced, piercers can do just about anything these days. Although these trendy practices may seem “cool” to teens and their friends, many people don’t consider the damage that oral piercings can inflict on their teeth and gums.

    How is your smile affected by oral piercings? 

    Increased Risk for Gum Disease

    People with oral piercings have an increased risk for gum disease due to the fact that the jewelry can rub and irritate your gums. With tongue piercings, the barbell can rub against the inner gum lining of your teeth and cause gum recession. The same gum irritation can happen with lip piercings.  The piercing can rub the front part of your bottom row of teeth. Over time, these piercings can create symptoms of gum disease such as red, irritated, and swollen gums. Playing with your jewelry can cause even more damage!

    Fractured and Chipped Teeth

    Tongue barbells are rather large pieces of metal (some are nearly an inch in length) that can easily hit your teeth while speaking or chewing and cause chips and fractures. This can happen both with people who aren’t used to their jewelry and people that have had their tongue pierced for years. Chips and fractures in your teeth can actually lead to bigger problems. A chip can turn into a fracture, and fractures can create an opening to the inner nerve of your tooth. When this happens, extreme sensitivity, decay, and infection can occur. Eventually, you may need a root canal treatment in order to save your tooth.

    Possibility for Nerve Damage or Infection

    If you do choose to get a piercing, it’s crucial to find a professional, experienced piercer. However, even with professionally done tongue piercings, nerve damage can happen. This nerve damage could be temporary or permanent. You may lose your sense of taste or experience numbness in your tongue. You also increase your risk for an infection with a new piercing, especially an oral one—there are many different kinds of bacteria in your mouth. When you get an oral piercing, you’re opening up a wound that your body has to heal and bacteria can invade. This creates a risk for infection if you don’t properly care for your piercing. Although rare, your body can also have an allergic reaction to the metal in your jewelry.

    The Bottom Line

    Are oral piercings worth the risk? Tongue and lip rings can irritate your gums, therefore leading to the beginning stages of gum disease. Tongue rings can chip and fracture teeth, causing severe sensitivity and damage. You also risk the potential for nerve damage, allergic reactions, and infections. If you do choose to get an oral piercing, always choose a professional piercer at a clean and established shop and be sure to follow their instructions for healing.

    If you experience any symptoms of longer-looking teeth due to gum recession, pain of a possible infection, or sensitive teeth which could indicate a fracture, visit your doctor or dentist. Getting regular checkups with your dentist can also ensure that your mouth is healthy and that you don’t have the symptoms of tooth decay or gum disease that oral piercings can cause. Make an informed decision—consider how oral piercings can damage your teeth and gums!

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