Piercings and Your Mouth


Body art, such as tattoos and piercings, is a very common method of self-expression. I firmly believe that each person has a right to decide what to do with his/her body, and I can definitely appreciate the esthetic and often emotional meaning behind these modifications. But studies have shown that lip and tongue rings often come with a much higher price than just the piercing itself. So please, read on about how to avoid these common oral complications.

Chipped Teeth

Clearly, it’s fun to play with a piercing and even run it through your teeth, something I’ve seen a hundred times. Of course, most lip or tongue piercings are made out of heavy-duty metal, and even the cheapest ones are harder than enamel. We see time and again that the act of running the piercing along the teeth will wear the enamel away over time. Or if you bite down in just the wrong way, you can lose a large piece of tooth in an instant. Unfortunately, repairing even the most minor chip can be a huge challenge – nothing is ever going to be as good as your natural tooth and fillings or even crowns can also chip or break.

Cracked Teeth

The constant tapping of metal or plastic on enamel will also cause micro-cracks in the teeth. These can be hard to see, but you will definitely start to feel as the teeth become sensitive to temperature and pressure. Micro-cracks will grow over time and may eventually affect the nerve of the tooth, causing inflammation that could earn you a root canal. And if the crack grows deep enough, the tooth can also break apart and may even have to be removed.

Gum Recession & Infection

Just like rubbing things on your teeth will wear them down, the same thing can happen with your gums. This will eventually expose the sensitive root surfaces, leading to that terrible temperature sensitivity. And it will increase your risk for gingivitis and gum disease. Also, consider the fact that the rings are always in your mouth – the bacteria love these surfaces and will grow on the piercing itself, making it harder to keep your mouth clean and healthy. Sometimes this will be obvious as gingivitis, but if the piercings aren’t removed and cleaned properly, the bacteria can cause a more serious infection in the rest of your body.

So, if you’re really interested in a lip or tongue piercing, follow these key rules:

  • Don’t play with your piercing.
  • Chew carefully.
  • Keep it clean! This includes regular brushing and flossing as well as removing the piercing for proper cleaning.
  • Switch to plastic – you are less likely to cause damage with “plastic” teflon backings or balls.
  • Have regular dental exams to catch any problems early on.

Our team at Horizon Dental is dedicated to helping people achieve optimal oral health. We are excited to be accepting new patients, you can call us at (778) 765-3928 or click here. If you have any questions or comments I’d love to hear from you. If you like what you see, please share with your friends and follow me on Google +, Facebook, or Instagram!

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