Piercings and tattoos are popular and trendy, and they have been for some time. Are you pierced? If you have intraoral or perioral piercings, our staff has most likely mentioned that you are at increased risk of infection due to the many bacterial species present in the mouth. If you don’t have oral piercings, good for you! We encourage you to pursue good oral health and avoid this trend.

Oral Piercings Defined

Oral piercing is an invasive procedure with possible negative health consequences. It is considered to be a form of body art and self-expression typically seen more in adolescents and 20-somethings.

As mentioned above, there are two types of oral piercings: intraoral or perioral.

Oral piercings

Intraoral: Piercing within the oral cavity; both ends of the oral jewelry reside in the oral cavity (tongue piercing)

Oral piercings

Perioral: Piercing soft tissue; one end of the oral jewelry resides in the oral cavity and the other end penetrates the skin’s surface (cheek, upper or lower lip, chin piercings)

Complications Associated with Oral Piercings

Oral piercings can lead to a wide range of oral and systemic complications. Here are some of the oral and systemic complications included in this wide range:

  • Chipped or damaged teeth
  • Gingival injury or gum recession
  • Lacerations and scarring
  • Embedding of jewelry (which requires surgical removal)
  • Swallowing or aspiration of jewelry
  • Hypersalivation (increased salivary flow)
  • Palatal erythema
  • Keloid formation (scar tissue)
  • Purulent (pus) discharge from the piercing
  • Potentially severe infections, such as Ludwig’s angina or infective endocarditis. (Infective endocaritis is an inflammation of the heart valves. It is caused by infectious bacterial agents or pathogens).

Additional resources on this subject:

The ADA advises against cosmetic oral piercing and tongue splitting, and so does Davis Dental. As you can see, the negatives and complications of such invasive procedures far outweigh the benefits of these popular or trendy endeavors.

Are you experiencing complications from oral piercings you’ve received? If you are, have your oral piercing removed and come see Davis Dental as soon as possible. Call (307) 634-3488. Stop living dangerously. Good health is never worth sacrificing on the altar of what’s trending.