Any type of piercing presents challenges and dangers to the body, but facial and oral piercings in particular bring additional risks, especially to your teeth. We know there are some dentists out there who are vehemently against oral piercings, but at Dentist in Fleet we couldn’t be more different. We believe that as long as you understand the risks and how to mitigate them through proper care and maintenance, anyone can wear as many studs and rings as they like. Many people have lip or tongue piercings and experience no problems at all, and this is usually due to the care taken by the piercer and the wearer of the piercer coupled with proper dental advice. To start you on the right track, here are a few of the most common problems oral piercings will present for your mouth and how you can prevent them.
When you first get your lip, tongue or any other area in your mouth pierced, it’s going to cause you a few problems. The most common of these is bruising or swelling around the area, which if it is close to your gums may cause soreness and irritation. This will usually subside after a few days, but it is important to take extra care and not cause any extra damage. Eating cold, soft foods and avoiding excessive talking or other traumas will help speed the healing along. On rare occasions you might experience prolonged bleeding or slow healing of the piercing, so it’s important to keep an eye on it. New piercings are also prone to infection, none more so than around your mouth. Food, drink, makeup, germs from pencils or under our nails if you have a chewing habit and other people’s saliva all present very real risks for facial piercings. However, all of these immediate problems can easily be combatted with proper oral hygiene and antiseptic treatments. The thing that causes your dentist concern is the long term effects such piercings might have on your teeth and gums.
Long Term Effects
Once your piercing has healed and settled down, you will still need to maintain high oral hygiene standard to make sure there is no extra build-up of bacteria on the piercing that might transfer onto your teeth. However, there can be some more more serious long term effect from lip and tongue piercings that you need to watch out for. Lip rings will rub against your teeth whenever you move your lips, which can cause them to wear away or chip the enamel on your teeth. This will make it easier for bacteria to access your tooth and cause decay and damage. The constant contact of lip and tongue piercings can also cause gum problems. In a 2006 study by Dental Traumatology, almost 70% of people with a basic lip stud experienced gum recession at the nearby teeth. This is true for tongue piercings as well, but it can be more difficult to spot as it will affect the gums behind your teeth. Gum recession can lead to your teeth being more sensitive to hot and cold (thanks to more root being exposed), or it could cause spaces to form between the gums and teeth. If these become infected it could cause severe decay or tooth loss. Because of the severity of these long term effects, it is crucial that people with oral piercings see their dentist regularly to catch any problems before they develop and ensure they don’t develop a habit of ‘playing’ with their piercing, as this can make the effects worse.
Care And Caution
Of course, we aren’t saying no one should ever have a facial piercing! It is important to understand that there are a few health risks that come with this bold fashion choice, and understanding how to care for your new piercing and your mouth will play an important part in preventing any damage. Before you have your piercing make sure you go to a reputable piercer who will pierce in the right place to cause minimal damage. When you first have your piercing done make sure you invest in a good antiseptic mouthwash (we recommend Listerine Antiseptic, Listerine Antibacterial or Corsodyl) and use 3 times daily until the piercing is fully healed. For lip piercings make sure no makeup is applied around the area to prevent infection and for tongue piercings clean the bar as well as your teeth daily.
Once your piercing has healed you should make sure you are taking care of your teeth. If you have a lip ring or stud make sure you are taking them out and cleaning them daily, as they can quickly become a haven for germs and bacteria that can be easily missed with normal brushing. Avoid habits like biting, chewing or rolling your piercing along your teeth and check your gums every few weeks for irritation or recession. Make sure you keep your 6 monthly dentist appointments to check for teeth or gum damage you might not be able to see.
If you are wearing or considering an oral piercing, it’s important to take your oral health into account. Our surgery is highly trained and committed to providing you the very best advice and service in the Fleet area, and will be able to help you understand the risks and work out a care plan for your piercing. For more information about oral piercings or to book your appointment, get in touch with us today.