A General Dentist Discusses the Hazards of Oral Piercings

Oral piercings have been around for ages and they are also popular today, especially among teens and young adults. 

While getting an oral piercing is a personal choice, one shouldn’t ignore the health complications that can arise. 

As helping our patients maintain their oral health is always a priority for us at Roshan Emam, DDS, in Palo Alto, California, we’ve put together a list of health hazards that can accompany an oral piercing. 

What Are Oral Piercings?

An oral piercing is a small hole made in the lip, cheek, tongue, or uvula made with the purpose of attaching jewelry. The most common forms of oral jewelry include rings, loops, studs, and barbells. Oral jewelry is typically made of metals like gold, titanium, and stainless steel. 

What Are the Different Types of Oral Piercings?

There are two main types of oral piercing - intraoral piercings and perioral piercings.

Intraoral piercings are piercings with both ends of the jewelry located inside the oral cavity (tongue piercings), while perioral piercings have one end of the jewelry in the oral cavity and the other end piercing the skin in the perioral region (cheek or lip piercings). 

What Are The Risks Involved In Oral Piercings?

Like any wound or incision, oral piercings can also lead to several health problems. Some of the most common complications of oral piercings are:

  • Infection

Our mouth is a Petri dish for bacteria and germs, and getting an oral piercing can lead to infection. If left untreated, the infection can spread throughout the oral cavity and cause severe dental and overall health issues including swelling of the tongue that can block your airway. 

  • Bleeding

As the oral cavity contains many blood vessels, getting a tongue piercing may cause severe bleeding.

  • Jewelry-Related Risks

Oral jewelry itself can be a risk for our health. There’s always a chance that it breaks off and you swallow or choke on it or accidentally bite into it and fracture your teeth.

  • Excessive Saliva Production 

Tongue piercing can lead to excess saliva production.

  • Nerve Damage

Tongue piercings, for example, can temporarily or permanently damage the nerves in the tongue and affect your sense of taste or the way you speak.

  • Gum Recession

Over time, piercings can wear down gum tissue and expose the tooth roots, making the teeth more prone to decay and infection.

  • X-ray Complications

Oral piercings can hinder the X-ray and scanning process, harming your oral health care.

If you want to know more about oral piercings, schedule an appointment with Dr. Roshan Emam by calling (650) 321-0340 or visiting us at 850 Middlefield Rd. Suite 8, Palo Alto, CA 94301.


850 Middlefield Rd. Suite 8,
Palo Alto, CA 94301

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