Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry
Las Vegas, Nevada
Dr. Henry Kim
Affectionate Dental Care
Excellence in Cosmetic Dentistry
Oral Health Topics:
What are Oral Piercings?
Oral piercings are any piercings of the tongue, lips or cheek. In recent years,
oral piercings have become a form of self-expression. As with pierced ears, the
metal jewelry used in oral piercings comes in different styles, including studs,
barbells and rings. However, piercing your tongue, lips or cheek involves
greater health risks than piercing your ears. Before having any part of your
mouth pierced, you should seek advice from your dentist.
What are the Different Risks Involved with Oral Piercing?
You may not be aware of the potential side effects of oral piercings. These
- Infection — our mouths contain millions of bacteria,
which can lead to infection after an oral piercing. Handling jewelry once it
has been placed in the mouth also increases your chances of getting an
- Prolonged bleeding — if a blood vessel is punctured by
the needle during piercing, the result can be difficult-to-control bleeding
and serious blood loss.
- Pain and swelling — pain and swelling are common symptoms
of oral piercings. In extreme cases, a severely swollen tongue can actually
close off the airway and restrict breathing.
- Chipped or cracked teeth — contact with oral jewelry can
fracture teeth. Teeth that have restorations, such as crowns or caps, can
also be damaged if the jewelry strikes them.
- Injury to the gums — not only can metal jewelry injure
soft gum tissue, it can cause the gums to recede. In addition to looking
unattractive, recessed gums leave your tooth root more vulnerable to decay
and periodontal disease.
- Interference with normal oral function — jewelry in the
mouth can cause excessive saliva flow, impede your ability to pronounce
words correctly, and cause problems with chewing and swallowing.
- Blood-borne diseases — oral piercings have been
identified by the National Institutes of Health as a possible factor in
transmitting hepatitis B, C, D and G.
- Endocarditis — oral piercing carries a risk of
endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart valves or tissues. The wound
created during oral piercing provides an opportunity for oral bacteria to
enter the bloodstream, where they can travel to the heart.
How Long do Oral Piercings Last?
As long as your mouth stays free of infection and your oral piercings do not
interfere with normal function, they can stay in your mouth indefinitely. Just
be sure to see your dentist at the first sign of pain or problems, in addition
to your regular checkups.
Because of the risks involved even after the initial wound has healed, such as
damage to the teeth or jewelry that becomes loose and gets ingested, your safest
bet is to avoid oral piercings altogether.
For the best in smile make over in Las Vegas, Summerlin, Henderson area of Nevada,
contact our cosmetic dentistry professionals. Schedule your free consultation
© 2005 Henry Kim DDS