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  • Writer's pictureThe Tooth Doctors

Oral Piercings

July 11, 2012 by christine

Piercings are one of today’s popular forms of body art and self expression. Oral piercings, which involve the tongue, lips, cheeks or uvula (the tiny tissue that hangs at the back of the throat) may have a greater impact than you think. As with ear piercing, metal jewellery is used in oral piercing and comes in different styles including studs, barbells and rings. Oral piercings include a higher risk for complications than ear piercings.

Common symptoms following oral piercing can include:

    interference with speech, chewing or swallowing     pain, swelling and infection     nerve damage, scar tissue     increased saliva flow and drooling     chipped or cracked teeth, damage to fillings     injuries to the gums     hypersensitivity to metals

Because the mouth is a moist environment, it is home to large amounts of bacteria, which can cause an oral piercing to become infected easily. If not treated quickly, an infection can become life threatening. Oral piercing carries a potential risk for bacteria to enter the bloodstream through the piercing site in the mouth and travel to the heart. Blood poisoning or blood clots are a risk that in the worst of cases, results in death.

After a piercing the tongue may swell. There have been reports of swelling serious enough to block the airway.

Piercing can cause uncontrollable bleeding and nerve damage. If a blood vessel is in the path of the needle during the piercing, severe and difficult to control bleeding can result. It is very possible to puncture a nerve during a piercing. If this happens, you may experience numbness that may be temporary, but can be permanent.

Piercing jewellery can cause problems or be hazardous as well. The jewellery can sometimes cause an allergic response to the pierced site. It can prevent you from speaking clearly or cause problems with chewing and swallowing food. Teeth can chip or crack from direct contact with the jewellery and jewellery that becomes loose in your mouth can be a choking hazard. Additionally, the bacteria that breeds around the piercing can cause bad breath.

Oral health is important to overall health. Don’t pierce on a whim. An oral piercing may have greater impact than you may think.

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