Tongue, Lip and Cheek Piercings Can Jeopardize Your Oral Health

BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA – The Journal of the American Dental Association published an article about oral piercings in their July issue. The article, titled “The piercing truth about tongue splitting and oral jewelry,” inspects the prices people pay for tongue, lip and cheek piercings.

You may be looking for a fun, semi-permanent way to express your style. Oral piercings may add some pizzazz to your look, but they come with certain oral health risks. Dr. Joseph Marvizi, one of the dentists in Bakersfield CA, wants patients to be aware of the dangers of oral piercings, specifically those that jeopardize your oral health.

“Wounds created during tongue splitting and oral piercing allow bacteria from the mouth to enter the bloodstream,” the article states. “In people with oral piercings, these bacteria have been associated with endocarditis, a serious infection involving the heart.”

Bacteria are naturally present in our mouths, but with proper oral hygiene we can keep the bacteria from progressing into plaque and tartar. Oral piercings can give the bacteria a straight route to your bloodstream, threatening the onset of endocarditis. Endocarditis inflames the muscles and valves within your heart. The condition can be life threatening, though it is rare.

Oral piercings also pose potential complications to your cosmetic dentistry procedures. Playing with a tongue ring could cause you to chip a crown or filling. Oral jewelry can even cause you to chip or crack your natural tooth, which may require restoration procedures to correct.

Dentists use X-rays at your regular dental visits to produce radiographs of your mouth. Your oral piercing could block the X-ray, causing complications for your dentist.

“Radiographs can help your dentist detect tooth decay and gum disease or abnormalities such as cysts or tumors,” according to the article.

Your dentist will want a clear X-ray to ensure your mouth isn’t hiding any unseen problems.

Oral piercings not only affect your surrounding teeth, but your gums, too. Our gum tissues grow quickly. Your lip ring may feel fine at first, but your gum tissues may start to grow over your piercing. This overgrowth of gum tissues is called embedding. Your embedded oral piercing will likely need to be removed with oral surgery.

Your gums may also recede from frequent contact with your jewelry. Your jewelry is a foreign object in your mouth, and your gums may react negatively to the metal in your mouth. Receding gums expose more of your tooth’s root, which can heighten your sensitivity to hot and cold oral sensations and make you more susceptible to decay.

Weigh the risks of your piercing against the value it will bring to your life. While it’s ultimately your decision to get pierced, we want you to make good choices for you and for your health.

Bakersfield dental services at Apollonia Dental Center include general and cosmetic dentistry with an emphasis on customer service. Our Bakersfield Invisalign patients are on the route to straighter smiles with flexible, effective treatment plans. Contact our practice to discuss your oral piercings or to schedule a routine dental exam.

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