Before you or a loved one gets an oral piercing, take the time to consider the potential risks. Unlike some places where piercings are done, the mouth is a dynamic area. Piercings in the mouth can affect numerous muscles and nerves–and your teeth. The American Dental Association offers these tips and reminders about important considerations before getting an oral piercing.

tongue with silver piercingBefore You Get a Piercing Consider:

Infection risk: There is a high risk of infection in your mouth because it already has a significant population of bacteria. Serious mouth infections are also dangerous: they can become life-threatening because they can spread to the brain if not promptly treated. Other times infection can lead to swelling in your tongue, which can cut off your air supply.A piercing can damage teeth and fillings if you play with them. They can also injure your gums.You may be allergic to the metal. Allergic responses to an oral piercing may have both local effects, and cause symptoms throughout your digestive tract..Nerve damage is always a danger from piercing. For an oral piercing, this may affect your ability to move your mouth and tongue, as well as your sense of taste. Serious blood loss can occur after a tongue piercing. If you experience significant blood loss that doesn’t stop after a piercing, contact your doctor–this can be fatal. Excessive drooling is another way your body may respond to the irritation of a piercing. Piercings interfere with dental imaging, such as x-rays and MRI’s. After a piercing, you may have to get more CT scans to see important details in your mouth.

Caring for Oral Piercings

You can minimize potential risks of oral piercings by taking proper care of them.Rinse your mouth after every meal to keep the piercing clean. Don’t damage your teeth. Avoid playing with the jewelry or moving it around excessively during talking and eating..Avoid swallowing the jewelry by keeping it secure. Check it regularly. Remove the jewelry during sports and always wear a mouth guard. Watch for signs of infection. Swelling, fever, local or general pain, and red streaks around jewelry are signs that you may have an infection. You should see your doctor immediately.

Comprehensive Cosmetic Oral Health Care

At Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics we offer comprehensive dental care. We can help people with or without oral piercings to maintain their oral health and can give you additional advice that is more specific to your anatomy, piercing, and habits. If you have damaged your teeth with an oral piercing, we can help restore chips with porcelain veneers or other types of restorations. To schedule an appointment at our office in Spokane or Spokane Valley, please contact Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics.