Oral piercings, including lip and tongue piercings, are nothing new. In fact, they have actually been around since the Mayans. However, this form of self-expression doesn’t come without its risks. If you’re considering getting your lip or tongue pierced, read this information from your dentist in Alexandria before you go under the needle.
Know The Risks
Like any type of piercing, a tongue or lip piercing requires your body to undergo minor trauma as well as introduces a foreign, metal object into your body. As a result, there are a few risks associated with an oral piercing such as:
- Infection. One of the most common side effects of piercings is infection. While infection can happen with any type of piercing, oral piercings may be more susceptible thanks to the ideal warm and moist environment the mouth provides, along with the fact that the mouth is already home to tons of bacteria. This type of environment is the perfect place for the bacteria to flourish and cause an infection. While these infections can be minor, there is a chance of a serious, life-threatening infection, too. Some infections may cause the tongue to swell, making it difficult to breathe.
- Tooth & Nerve Damage. You’ve probably noticed that those with a pierced tongue or lip tend to play with the piercing a lot. This constant clicking and clanking of metal against teeth increase the likelihood of tooth damage – such as chipped teeth, broken teeth, and worn enamel – which can expose teeth to bacteria and decay. Damage to teeth will need to be fixed by your dentist in Alexandria before it leads to bigger and potentially painful problems. But that’s not all. There’s also the risk of nerve damage. Our tongues are home to a lot of nerves, and if the piercing needle hits one at the wrong angle, you may experience temporary or sometimes permanent numbness. This nerve damage can also affect your sense of taste and how you speak.
- Gum Disease. Teeth and nerves aren’t the only things that can be damaged by tongue or lip piercings. Gum tissue is also at risk for damage caused by a lip or tongue ring. While that may sound like a minor inconvenience, the truth is that once gum tissue is damaged, it makes it incredibly easy for mouth bacteria to work their way up under the gums and settle in, resulting in gum disease. Gum disease is a serious concern for your dentist in Alexandria as it can lead to chronic bad breath, tooth loss, and even whole-body health concerns such as heart disease.
We’re not here to tell you that you can’t get a tongue or lip piercing, but we do encourage you to take the necessary steps to protect yourself against the risks above. Some things you can do include:
- Pick a professional piercer with a good track record and high sterilization standards. If they can’t answer your questions about safety and sanitation, choose someone else.
- After you get the piercing, clean it well and clean it often to help minimize your risk of infection.
- Rinse your mouth out with water after you eat to help wash away any food particles that may have gotten stuck in your piercing.
- Avoid playing with your piercing to minimize the chance of tooth and gum damage.
- Oral hygiene is even more important for those with an oral piercing so make sure you maintain great oral hygiene at home and see your dentist in Alexandria every six months.
Most importantly, know the signs of infection and seek medical care immediately if you notice swelling, redness, fever, chills, or uncontrollable shaking.
If you have any questions or concerns about oral piercings, talk with your dentist.
Accepting patients from Alexandria, Old Town, Del Ray, and nearby areas.