Body modification has a long and respectable history, playing important roles in societies throughout the world. Sometimes it’s done as a form of personal expression, religious devotion, or as part of a cultural tradition with its own special meaning. In America, body modification is largely a case of personal expression, and oral piercings, in particular, has been growing in popularity. Along with it, there has been a growing concern among dentists and dental patients about the safety of having these piercings and the long-term consequences for your oral health. In this article, we’ll explore the risks associated with oral piercings and how you may be able to avoid them.
An Introduction To Oral Piercings
The first thing we need to go over is the types of oral piercings that exist so that we can address any concerns associated with them. The following list covers the most common types of piercings in broad categories. Within each of these types can be found countless variations as unique as the person who gets them.
- Dorsoventral Tongue Piercing: Despite its rather weighty name, this is one of the most common forms of tongue piercing. It’s a simple piercing through the center of the tongue, allowing piercings to be inserted top-to-bottom and held in place with studs.
- Dorsolateral Tongue Piercing: Decidedly less common, this piercing goes through the width of the tongue, with barbell studs holding the jewelry in place.
- Lip Piercing: Piercings through the lip can be done anywhere along the lip but are most commonly placed in the center (in the cupid’s bow) or the corners of the mouth. Bottom lip piercings are also popular.
- Cheek Piercing: These piercings are located in the cheeks and are commonly referred to as dimples. They are held in place with barbell studs.
These are just a few of the more common types of piercing available, though there are other styles available, including web piercings and uvula piercings.
What Risks Come With Oral Piercings?
While generally benign, there is an assortment of common concerns that come with having a foreign object inserted in your body. The specific nature and structures of the mouth make this particularly true for oral piercings. The most common concerns facing those with oral piercings include:
- Halitosis (Bad Breath): Plaque gets a whole new opportunity to take hold when you have a piercing. Brushing around rings, studs, and other piercings can be difficult, making them ideal places for plaque to build up. Bad breath can be the result.
- Drooling: Having an oral piercing tends to stimulate saliva production. More embarrassing than risky, excess saliva can lead to drooling.
- Infections: Even if your piercing parlor is perfectly sterile, there’s always a risk of developing an infection. The moist warm environment of your mouth is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
- Chipped or Worn Teeth: Some people with piercings develop a habit of running them across their teeth. This can result in the enamel on your teeth steadily wearing away over time, resulting in cavities and sensitivity.
If you’re considering an oral piercing and want to learn more about preventing complications while living with them, contact Lifetime Dental Care today. Dr. April J Toyer helps patients live their best, most authentic life by providing options through patient education and treatment. We’re excited about seeing you at our Woodbridge, VA offices!