A tongue piercing is a popular way of self-expression but most dentists will tell you oral piercings are not the best way to express your individuality. This is because the mouth is home to millions of bacteria that can lead to infections and swelling when you get a piercing but that is just the beginning of possible problems.
Complications From a Tongue Piercing
Some of the complications from tongue piercing include:
- Infection and Pain: The mouth is a moist environment and home to numerous types of bacteria making it the ideal place for infection. If not properly treated the infection can quickly become serious.
- Swelling: While a bit of swelling is to be expected after a tongue piercing in severe cases swelling can be so great it could block the airway.
- Nerve or Muscle Damage: This can result in numbness, movement problems or can affect your sense of taste. While this is usually temporary it can sometimes be permanent.
- Damage to Teeth: Chipping or cracking of teeth can occur when the teeth come in contact with the jewellery. This could be through biting or playing with the piercing or through a blow to the face where the piercing is.
- Gum Disease: People with piercings have a greater risk of gum disease.
- Gum Recession: This occurs when the piercing constantly rubs against the gums. In severe cases, it can lead to loose teeth and tooth loss.
- Dental Exam Problems: Jewellery must be removed for dental X-rays.
- Allergic Reaction to Metal: Allergic reaction is possible with some people.
- Excessive Saliva Production: This is mostly temporary but can be permanent. This can interfere with chewing, swallowing and speaking clearly.
Still thinking of getting a tongue piercing?
If you must get a tongue piercing or other oral piercing please consider the following:
- Few body piercers are trained medical professionals with an understanding of anatomy.
- Make sure an experienced piercer does the piercing.
- Ensure that the studio is licensed.
- Ensure that the studio follows relevant infection control and sterilisation guidelines. Do they have hospital-grade autoclaves for sterilisation and/or use disposable instruments? Do they wear disposable gloves?
- Is the jewellery sterilised before insertion?
- If jewellery is close to the teeth make sure the stud is plastic.
- If you have excessive swelling, bleeding or pain or develop an infection seek medical attention immediately.
- Visit your dentist regularly so that the piercing can be monitored and any damage to teeth and gums can be minimised.
Our dentists and dental hygienists are here to help. If you need further advice please call us on (03) 6231 3645 to request an appointment.