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Oral Health Risks From Piercings

November 15, 2015 Andrew 0 Comments

Your oral health affects other body parts. There are a number of personal health risks associated with oral piercings and wearing jewelry in your mouth.


Q: How can oral health be affected by the piercing of one’s tongue, cheek or lips?


A: This needs to be addressed in two parts:

1. During the piercing procedure and associated with wound healing.

2. Damage and effects of wearing jewelry intra-orally.


Procedure Risks: Infections And Nerve Damage


Your mouth is laden with bacteria. Piercing creates a wound, then you are handling and introducing jewelry to the cut tissue, and this allows bacteria to enter your bloodstream.


Numbness occurs at site of piercing if nerves are damaged, and prolonged bleeding can happen if blood vessels are punctured.


There’s also the risk of transmitting diseases such as herpes, simplex virus and hepatitis B and C during the procedure.


Jewelry-Associated Complications


– Damage to teeth or restorations can occur when jewelry comes in contact with teeth, which can cause chipping and cracking. There can also be difficulties in mouth functions, such as chewing, swallowing food, drooling, alteration of taste and speaking clearly.


– Metal allergies can also happen. If you are allergic to cheap metal jewelry, don’t place in your mouth!


– Loose jewelry can be a choking hazard. If swallowed, it can damage your digestive tract.


– Gum disease is also a factor to take into consideration. Tongue barbells press against the gums behind front teeth, which is likely to cause gums to recede. Additionally, bone underneath is lost, which can lead to loose teeth and future tooth loss.


Dentists see too many of these complications. Consider these risks before deciding to go through oral piercing procedures.


Q: What if I still want to have the piercing?


A: Check out the studio first. You’ll need to check that hospital-grade autoclaves (sterilizers) are used. Do they use disposable gloves and instruments? Verify the studio’s health certificates.


Is the staff vaccinated against hepatitis B? Are all jewelry items kept in sterilized packaging?


Q: How long can oral piercings last?


A: If your mouth stays free of infection and your oral piercings do not interfere with normal function, they can stay in your mouth indefinitely. See your dentist at the first sign of pain or problems. All areas of the mouth will be examined at your regular dental checkups. Be aware that even when the posts are removed there is still scar tissue left in the tongue and other affected areas. Remember, the health of your mouth affects your whole body. Seeing your dentist is part of your wellness program.


View Articles by Dr. Cranska at:  http://www.arundelvoice.com

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