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Dr. Kevin Burgdorf, DDS
Bridgeton MO Dentist
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The Problem With Piercings

June 30, 2014
Posted By: Dr. Kevin Burgdorf
A woman holds her jaw in pain

Do you have oral piercings?

For many people, piercings are a way to express their own individuality, and we respect that. The problem, though, is that oral piercings can be detrimental to your dental health in a number of ways.

Before you decide to get a piercing (or even if you already have one!), we hope that you’ll consider these concerns carefully:

Bacterial infections

Millions of bacteria make their home in our mouths. For the most part, these are harmless and some are even necessary for good health. But others contribute to cavities and gum disease. The biggest problem, however, can occur when these problematic bacteria are allowed to enter the bloodstream – which they can easily do when you pierce your tongue or your lips.

Tooth and gum damage

Many people come to us with chipped or fractured teeth caused by clicking their piercing against their teeth or accidentally biting down on a tongue stud. Ouch! Chips are also common in the front teeth when you wear a piercing in your lower lip.

Piercings in the lips often lead to gum recession as the backings of the piercings rub against the gums.  Gum recession exposes more of your roots, which leads to sensitivity and an increased risk of cavities.

  1. Excessive salivation

Tongue piercings are known to lead to drooling because of an increase in saliva production. This could lead to some potentially embarrassing situations!

  1. Diagnostic issues

Facial piercings can make diagnosing dental issues challenging. We rely on x-rays to see inside your teeth to make sure that they are free from disease and infection, and oral piercings get in the way – especially tongue studs. While piercings can be removed, some people find removing their piercings challenging and must leave them in. The piercing can obscure areas of the x-ray, which could cause us to miss a serious issue.

  1. Allergic reactions

Some people have sensitivities and allergies to the metals used in oral piercings. These may not be immediately apparent and can develop over time.

What if I Already Have a Piercing?

If you’ve already made the decision to get a piercing and are feeling concerned right now, don’t panic. Schedule an appointment to come in to our Bridgeton dental office and talk to Dr. Burgdorf.

If you decide that you’d like to keep your piercing, watch for signs and symptoms of possible infection and follow these tips:

  • Avoid clicking your piercing against your teeth.
  • Use a rinse after every meal to prevent food particles from attaching to your piercing.
  • Pay special attention to your oral care routine. Just like your teeth, your piercing can collect plaque and can contribute to bad breath.
  • Make sure that your piercing stays tight so that you don’t risk choking or accidentally swallowing it if it becomes dislodged while eating.

Oral piercings require extra diligence and responsibility. Don’t make the decision on a whim.

Do you have an oral piercing? Has it affected your dental health? Talk to us about your piercing on Facebook. 

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