Dangers of Oral Piercing

Oral piercings are piercings placed in the mouth, the most popular of which is the tongue piercing. Piercing the tongue has a long history in religious and performance practices. Most of the oral piercings quickly heal because of the plentiful blood supply to the area. There is however a risk of tooth or gum damage with many oral piercings. For this reason it is important to keep an eye on oral piercings and seek help in the event of any changes. In many cases oral damage can be avoided by using suitable jewellery and flexible materials such as Bioplast and PTFE.

Some common types of oral piercings are :
Smiley Piercing : Smiley piercings also known as upper lip frenulum piercings and are pierced through the thin tissue connecting the gum and the centre of the upper lip. This piece of tissue is very thin and smiley piercings are fairly painless.
Tongue Web Piercing

Tongue Venom Piercing : A tongue venom piercing is a set of two tongue piercings, placed laterally near the front of the tongue. Venom piercings can be pierced at the same time or separately and placement will depend on the size, shape and anatomy of your tongue.

Tongue Web Piercing : Tongue web piercings are pierced through the tongue frenulum, which is the tissue that connects the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. The size of the tongue frenulum varies a great deal from person to person and some people may not be able to get this piercing.

The Different Risks Involved with Oral Piercings
  • Infection : Our mouths contain millions of bacteria, which can lead to infection after an oral piercing. Handling jewelry once it has been placed in the mouth also increases your chances of getting an infection.
  • Pain and swelling : Pain and swelling are common symptoms of oral piercings. In extreme cases, a severely swollen tongue can actually close off the airway and restrict breathing.
  • Chipped or cracked teeth : Contact with oral jewelry can fracture teeth. Teeth that have restorations, such as crowns or caps, can also be damaged if the jewelry strikes them.
  • Injury to the gums : Not only can metal jewelry injure soft gum tissue, it can cause the gums to recede. In addition to looking unattractive, recessed gums leave your tooth root more vulnerable to decay and periodontal disease.
  • Interference with normal oral function : Jewelry in the mouth can cause excessive saliva flow, impede your ability to pronounce words correctly, and cause problems with chewing and swallowing.
  • Blood-borne diseases : Oral piercings have been identified by the National Institutes of Health as a possible factor in transmitting hepatitis B, C, D and G.
  • Endocarditis : Oral piercing carries a risk of endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart valves or tissues. The wound created during oral piercing provides an opportunity for oral bacteria to enter the bloodstream, where they can travel to the heart.
  • Prolonged bleeding : If a blood vessel is punctured by the needle during piercing, the result can be difficult-to-control bleeding and serious blood loss.
Warning Signs After an Oral Piercing
  • If you notice any of the following warning signs after getting an oral piercing, contact a health care professional right away:
  • Yellow or green discharge from the piercing site (Note: A whitish or clear discharge is normal)
  • Scarring or thickened tissue that builds up and darkens around the piercing site
  • Increased redness, pain and tenderness, or swelling at the piercing site
  • A pimple-like abscess on the piercing site
  • Bleeding or tearing after the initial healing of the piercing
  • A low-grade fever that is persistent in the days following piercing

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