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An oral piercing can be a way to express yourself, but it is not entirely without risk. In the interest of creative fashion flair, wearing a lip or tongue piercing might seem like a fun idea, but isn’t without risk and even cause dental issues. Before you sign up for an oral piercing that can harm your healthy smile, take a moment to evaluate some of the risks you (or someone you love) might be facing.

Oral Piercing Awareness

Piercings in the body can cause inflammation and damage to the nerves at the piercing site, and especially more so for oral piercings because of the constant influx of bacteria in the mouth. In addition, if the piercing jewelry constantly touches the gums, the gums may pull away, allowing the teeth to chip or fracture. Tongue and lip piercings can even cause tooth loss, according to the Journal of the American Dental Association. In severe gum disease, the layer of gum tissue and jawbone create pockets as they pull back from the teeth, making them vulnerable to loosening which may cause them to fall out or require removal.

If you have assessed all possible dental health risks and still want an oral piercing, we advise you to take extra care of the piercing site and follow the healing directions given to you by your piercing professional. Be aware that it can take 4-6 weeks to heal a tongue piercing and up to two months for a lip piercing, so be mindful of any signs that the piercing may not be healing properly.

Signs That a Piercing Is Going Wrong

  • If there is bleeding or tearing of the tissue after the piercing has healed.
  • If there is an abscess at the site of the piercing.
  • If you have an ongoing low grade fever that isn’t improving.
  • Gum tenderness, redness, or swelling that doesn’t seem to be healing.
  • A thickening and darkening of the gums around the piercing site.
  • If there is yellow or green discharge coming from the piercing site.

We want to help you keep your smile as radiant and healthy as possible, so if you have any questions or concerns about an oral piercing, please contact our office for a visit with Dr. John McAllister. You can reach us by calling our McAllister Dentistry team in Hickory, North Carolina at 828-322-6731 today!