Oral Piercing

Tongue piercing, cheek piercing, lip piercing… Oh my!  Many people see oral piercing as an awesome form of body art and self expression, however, the medical community views it as a dangerous practice that can cause many problems with your health.  But, it looks cool!  Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder.  From where this writer is sitting, the view is of a moist, bacteria filled environment that has been compromised by jewelry – an ideal environment for infection!

There are several potential complications of oral piercing.

  • Pain and swelling (in some cases the tongue can swell large enough to block the airway).
  • Excessive drooling – not cool!
  • Nerve damage which can lead to loss of taste or a numb tongue
  • Injury to the gums
  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Infection at the piercing site or infection to heart tissue due to bacteria entering the bloodstream and traveling to the heart.
  • Receding gums due to jewelry rubbing against the gum tissue.  Receding gums can cause extreme teeth sensitivity to hot, cold or spicy foods.
  • Serious blood loss if there is damage to the tongue’s blood vessels.

If you are still interested in an oral piercing, please discuss the procedure with your dentist or medical professional.  You will also need to take special care of the piercing to avoid future problems at the piercing site.

  • After the piercing site heals, you should remove your jewelry each time you eat or sleep to protect your teeth.  Many piercing parlors provide “plugs” to sleep in to protect the hole from closing while protecting your teeth at the same time.
  • Remove your jewelry every time you brush your teeth and always brush your tongue.  Brushing and flossing are extra important when you have oral piercings to help control the breeding bacteria in your mouth and lower your chances for infection.
  • Use and antiseptic mouthwash after every meal.
  • Remove jewelry during any strenuous activity to avoid injury to your teeth.




    Apr 10

    John Davennport

    I have piercings and they do NOT cause chipped teeth. Shoot, doesn’t touch your teeth or you gums so don’t give out misleading information….

      Apr 27

      Dr. Charlie


      I think it is terrific that you do not have any chipping from your piercings and I honestly hope you never have any issues! Unfortunately, in my experience and my colleagues’ experience, intraoral piercings have demonstrated to higher occurrence of causing chipping or fractures in teeth. Studies have also shown that the long term effects of intraoral piercings such as tongue rings could lead to periodontal disease or the loss of bone that teeth are held in. These situations can be very unfortunate for some of our patients and with our patients oral health in mind, it is our job to educate them to avoid such situations. Thanks so much for your feedback – it is appreciated. Let me know if you have any other questions. This forum is always open for discussion.

      Dr. “Charlie”
      Dentistry for Children

    May 24


    I have had my tounge pierced for 5 years now, and it’s never cause me any problems. My teeth are not chipped. The only reason any infection should happed at the site of the piercing would be if a) you go to a cheap place where they have no idea what they are doing, or b) you get lazy and don’t take care of your piercing. Piercings are a very big responsibility, that is why teens often have problems with them; they get lazy and don’t take proper care of them. If you act in a responsible way and follow the instructions given to you, there should be no infections. As for teeth chipping, I’m sure it’s happened many times, but as a dentist that’s probably the only thing you’ve seen… seeing as people don’t come to you if they are fine unless they need a chekup. Multiple of my friends and myself have very healthy teeth and that’s because we take care of whatever we need to to keep it that way.

    Jun 12


    What could happen with a lip piercing, assuming I get it done a reputable place and take good care of it?


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