February 2, 2015
To discuss facial and oral piercing we must first take a look back in history. Did you know that the earliest known representation of piercing was in a dog figure created in Egypt around 1500 BC? It was considered a symbol of royalty. Mayans used piercing as a symbol of spirituality, virility, and courage. Eskimos pierced their lower lips as a symbol of passage to adulthood in boys and act of purification in girls. History also shows piercing in Hindu, Chinese, and American Indian cultures, along with tattoos, branding, and scars piercing has become a form of body art in today’s culture.
If you or someone you know is considering piercing their lip or tongue, they should know the risks including:
• Pain, swelling, infection, an increased flow of saliva, drooling, and injuries to the gum tissue.
• Taste loss, chipped or cracked teeth, tooth loss, severe and difficult to control bleeding, blood poisoning,and blood clots
• Tongue swelling and possible airway restriction
• Radiographic artifact creating problems during dental exams
• Gingival recession when the post or button of the stud hits and rubs against the gum tissues causing the tissue to recede.
• And most commonly, tooth fracture resulting from the post striking the side of a tooth.
While infection is a possibility with an open skin or tissue the risk is higher at the site of an oral piercing due to the high amounts of bacteria present in the oral cavity.
There are measures that can be taken to care and maintain oral piercings. We suggest you discuss all options with your dental professional. Some of the more frequent suggestions may include removing the ornament when you eat and sleep, brushing the tongue and using antiseptic mouthwash after every meal, and discouragement from “playing” with the ornament.
Until next time,
Keep smiling, sharing, and caring!