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Tongue and lip piercings are an increasingly popular way to express one’s fashion sense and personality. If you are thinking about getting an oral piercing, please be aware of the risks associated with them. While lip and tongue piercings seem like a fun form of self-expression, they can also cause dental issues. To avoid damaging your smile, please read on.

A Journal of the American Dental Association article warns that tongue and lip piercings can cause tooth loss. Periodontitis (severe gum disease) happens when the layer of gum tissue and bone create pockets as they pull back from the teeth, and the teeth can become loose and fall out or require removal. Oral piercings can cause inflammation and damage to the nerves at the piercing site.  If the metal piercing constantly touches the gums, the gums may recede and the teeth can become chipped or fractured.

If you have assessed the possible oral health risks and still want a piercing, be sure to take good care of the piercing site and follow the directions given to you by your piercing professional. Be diligent, as it can take four to six weeks to heal a tongue piercing and up to two months for a lip piercing.

Signs of a Piercing Gone Wrong

  • A thickening and darkening of the gums around the piercing site.
  • Redness, swelling or tenderness in the gums that doesn’t improve.
  • Yellow or green discharge from the site (white is normal).
  • A low grade fever that doesn’t go away, an abscess at the site, bleeding or tearing after the piercing has healed.

We want to help you keep your smile healthy and confident, so if you have any questions or concerns about an oral piercing we invite you to contact our office for a visit with Dr. Alan J. White. You can reach our dental team in Staunton, Virginia at 540-886-1979 today!