Can Piercings Damage Your Teeth And Gums?

May 30, 2022

Although body piercing has been practiced around the world since ancient times, the stigma around piercings in modern times has only recently started to relax. Today, people from all ages and walks of life have piercings, and some facial piercings have even become accepted in professional settings. As a result, piercings of the tongue, lip, cheek, and other parts of the mouth have become more popular than ever before. At American Dental, we believe everyone should feel free to express themselves however they wish; at the same time, we also know that some piercings can cause damage to the teeth and gums. Today, we would like to educate you about how piercings around the mouth can affect your oral health.

Types Of Piercings That Can Damage Teeth And Gums

The American Dental Association (ADA) cautions body modification enthusiasts that any piercing that has a component that rests inside the mouth can cause oral symptoms like swelling, bleeding, infection, chipped or damaged teeth, gum recession, lacerations, and more. In some cases, piercings can become embedded in the skin or cause the formation of a keloid, which is a buildup of fibrous tissue around the piercing site. Some of these conditions can require surgical intervention; others can lead to gum disease, tooth loss, and more. If you are considering getting a piercing in the mouth area, you should know that most dentists would advise against doing so.

The most common piercings that can cause oral health issues include:

  • Tongue Piercings
  • Philtrum Piercings (the cleft just above the upper lip)
  • “Monroe” Piercings (offset above the upper lip)
  • Any Lower or Upper Lip Piercings
  • Labret Piercings (centered below the lower lip)

While these are the most common facial piercings, piercers are always finding new locations for jewelry, including the various frenula inside the mouth. Be aware that any contact between jewelry and the gum tissue, mouth tissues, or teeth has the potential to cause damage and could be detrimental to your long-term oral health.

The ADA warns that complications from oral piercings are relatively common. One review showed that up 50% of individuals with lip piercings and 44% of people with tongue piercings will experience gum recession. 26% of people with tongue piercings have experienced tooth damage. Additionally, because oral piercings can be difficult to clean and the mouth is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, the risk of infection in the immediate aftermath of an oral piercing is higher than it is with other types of piercings. If you are considering an oral piercing, we would advise against it. If you already have an oral piercing, we recommend that you remove it before it causes any long-term damage.

General Dentistry In The Chicago Area

While an oral piercing can certainly help you express your individuality, we feel that the health risks far outweigh any benefits. If you live in the Chicago area and have questions about oral piercings or about any other aspect of your oral health, the team at American Dental is here to answer them. We have a general dentist in Evergreen Park and 7 other Chicagoland communities, so click our “Make an Appointment” button to find the location that works best for you and schedule your appointment today!

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