Tongue piercing has been a fad that has been around for more than a decade. Because it's been a growing trend for so long, there have been more opportunities to study the damage that can potentially be caused by a tongue piercing.
What Does A Tongue Piercing Hurt?
The answer to that may surprise you. Aside from the increased risk of infection, (the mouth is full of bacteria and piercing the tongue can lead to serious infection) there is an increase in damage to teeth and gums. The most common piece of jewelry worn in the tongue is a barbell and depending on the length of the bar, the damage can vary. It's a stainless steel bar that goes through the tongue and is held in place with a screw cap on each end.
We have observed patients who habitually click the ball along their teeth or bite on the ball. This causes damage to your teeth by chipping and cracking them. Receding gums are also a problem that we commonly see with tongue piercings. Patients who have had a piercing for longer than around four years show the most damage. As the tongue moves around the mouth the barbell can reach and damage the gums which cause them to recede. Receding gums can also lead to tooth loss.
With all of the information that is available regarding oral health and tongue piercings, we strongly recommend against it. However, if it's something that you've decided to do, please come and talk to us so that we can discuss the risk factors with you and potentially decrease your risk of damage.
Fads come and go throughout our lives, but our teeth can last a lifetime. Taking precautions and practicing good oral health now can insure that your teeth will be around long after the fad of tongue piercing is a memory.
The Center for Implant & General Dentistry Clay Keith, D.D.S. | Paul Denson, D.D.S.