You may have seen teenagers and young adults on the street and in magazines sporting an array of oral piercings and tooth jewelry. These are seen as an expression of individuality as well as a fashion statement.
Have you ever considered what the long term implications of lip piercings and tooth jewelry are on your mouth and teeth?
Fashionable piercings result in chipped, fractured, or cracked teeth, loose teeth, damaged fillings and crowns, gingival recession, periodontal disease and eventual tooth loss. Not only do the piercings interfere with proper chewing and swallowing, you may also speak less clearly due to excessive production of saliva! An oral piercing can also become loose and thus turn out to be a choking hazard. A swallowed or aspirated piercing may require surgery to remove it from either the digestive tract or lungs.
Recently, the New Brunswick Dental Society in Canada issued a warning about the risks of tongue, lip, and cheek oral piercings, explaining that these piercings can jeopardize health and urging those who already have them to remove them.
Anyone considering having an oral piercing done should seriously consider the health risks involved. Among the obvious ones include blood-borne disease such as herpes simplex virus: hepatitis B, C, D, and G; or HIV.
Less common but life-threatening complications include:
Ludwig’s angina is a type of cellulitis that involves the floor of the mouth, under the tongue. It often occurs after an infection of the roots of the teeth (such as tooth abscess) or a mouth injury.¹
This is a disease that is usually caused by bacteria and most often affects young, healthy adults. It creates a blood clot, filled with bacteria near the tonsils in the jugular vein. If this infection is not caught in time the blood clot will start to break apart & travel to the lungs & other major organs.²
Hemorrhage or bleeding in the mouth may occur in cases of serious infections.
In addition, other bacteria can be introduced by handling the jewelry that has been inserted. Such infections can cause endocarditis, a serious inflammation of the heart valves or tissues.
Other hazards include nerve damage and possibly prolonged bleeding from punctured blood vessels. In some cases, the tongue can swell so much that the person’s airway may become blocked.
In the long run, the dental community advices: Don’t do it! Why risk your life for the sake of fashion? For more information on the effect of oral piercings on your teeth, read our previous blog post on why oral piercings can be uncool.
If you would like to schedule an appointment to remove your oral piecing(s), call us at (65) 6733 7883 or contact us via our website enquiries.