Dental problems related to piercings have risen while tongue and lip piercings have grown in popularity amongst young adults. It may be cool and set you apart, but you’re asking for trouble too if you’re not careful. It may not happen right away, but one study showed that within four years of wearing a tongue piercing, half of young adults followed in the study suffered cracked or chipped teeth. The incidence of injury was greater for those who chose a short-stemmed barbell over longer studs and barbells. People tend to bite the barbell or piercing out of habit, or roll it around their mouth, and the shorter ones are easier to clench between teeth. Teeth aren’t made to eat metal or come in contact with it or hard objects with frequency. They will break down.

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Other risks are associated with jewelry in or around the mouth. Receding gums, and related oral symptoms and problems can occur leading to tooth loss or damage to the gums. Longer barbells are more likely to cause gums problems than chipped teeth, but any piercing will contribute to bad oral health for other reasons too.

Realize that when you chew, you’re chewing side to side, not just up and down. Anything in your mouth other than food and your tongue is going to contact the tooth or gum surfaces, and will have an impact. Besides, it’s impossible not to want to play with it in between your teeth, or by moving your tongue around to feel it on the roof of your mouth. It’s going to knock on some porcelain doors. 🙁

Having a hole in your lip or nose, cheeks, chin or tongue can lead to infection as well as chipped teeth and gum damage. You should discuss the potential risks with your dentist if you or your kids are considering a piercing or tongue stud. If you’re going to do it anyways, check in and find out what you can do to reduce risks and keep your smile happy.

Teeth and gums can become sensitive and feel weak or bad just because you have a piercing! If you don’t experience dental emergencies, you still might have an unhappy mouth and have extra sensitivity in your teeth and gums that you’ll notice more and more.

Make a choice! But get informed. An alternative to metal can be plastic caps that will break before they hurt your teeth in most cases. Don’t go for metal, and get your piercing done right and not too far forward. If it’s plastic, realize it can break, and that it’s then a choking hazard. It’s guaranteed that you’ll have some kind of dental problem, so know how to limit them and what you’re in for. Come see Dr. Perlaza for advice, or for a checkup if you already have a piercing. We’re here to help!