Any type of piercing presents challenges and dangers to the body, but facial and oral piercings in particular have some additional risks attached. Especially when it comes to your teeth. Now, we know there are some dentists out there who are vehemently against oral piercings, but at Appledore we don’t think like that.
We believe that, as long as you understand the risks and how to mitigate them through proper care and maintenance, anyone can wear as many studs and rings as they like in or around their mouths. In fact, many people who have lip or tongue piercings don’t have dental problems at all. This is usually due to the care taken by the piercer and the wearer when choosing the placement of the jewellery, coupled with proper dental advice about ongoing care. So to start you on the right track, here are a few of the most common problems oral piercings will present for your mouth and how you can prevent them.
Immediate Problems when you first get your lip, tongue or any other area in your mouth pierced, it’s going to cause you a few problems, no matter how careful you are. The most common issue is swelling and bruising in and around the piercing area, which can cause some soreness and irritation for your gums. This will usually go away after a few days, but you should take extra care to make sure you don’t cause any extra damage. For example, eating cold, soft foods and not talking too much will help speed up the healing process. On rare occasions you might experience prolonged bleeding or slow healing. If this happens, it’s important to keep an eye on it.
New piercings are also prone to infection, especially if they’re in or around your mouth. After all, they’re exposed to food, drink, makeup, germs from under nails and even other people’s saliva – making your mouth a breeding ground for bacteria. As your piercing heals, you need to keep it clean with antiseptic treatments and good oral treatments.
The good news is, all of those things aren’t really what worries dentists when they see mouth piercings. It’s the long-term effects on your teeth and gums that worry us.
Long Term Effects once your piercing has healed and settled down, you might think that’s it and you don’t need to do anything else. But you will need to include your piercing in your daily brushing to avoid plaque build-up and bacteria that might transfer onto your teeth.
But that part is easy to manage. It’s the serious long-term effects some tongue and lip piercings can have that your dentist will worry about. For example, lip rings will rub against your teeth when you talk, which can cause them to wear and chip at the enamel. This makes it much easier for bacteria to get in and cause decay in your front teeth.
The constant contact of lip and tongue piercings can also cause gum problems. In a 2006 study by Dental Traumatology, almost 70% of people with a basic lip stud experienced gum recession at the nearby teeth. This is true for tongue piercings as well, but it can be more difficult to spot as it will affect the gums behind your teeth, not in front. Gum recession can lead to your teeth being more sensitive to hot and cold (because the root is being exposed). It could also cause spaces to form between the gums and teeth, which can trap food and debris, as well as not looking very nice!
Luckily, you can prevent most of them with the right care and caution, and regular visits to your dentist so that they can catch any problems before they develop.
Care And Caution of course, we aren’t saying no one should ever have a facial piercing! But if you do, or you’re thinking about it, it is important to understand that there are some health risks that come with this bold fashion choice. Understanding how to care for your new piercing and your mouth will play an important part in preventing any damage and keeping you healthy. Before you have your piercing make sure you go to a reputable piercer who will pierce in the right place to cause minimal damage to your teeth, gums, lips and/or tongue. When you first have your piercing done make sure you invest in a good antiseptic mouthwash (we recommend Peroxyl) and use 3 times daily until the piercing is fully healed. For ladies with lip piercings, make sure no makeup is applied around the area to prevent infection. For tongue piercings, make sure you brush your bar as well as your teeth every day.
Once your piercing has healed you should make sure you are taking care of your teeth as normal. If you have a lip ring or stud make sure you are taking them out and cleaning them daily regularly to stop bacteria building up. Avoid habits like biting, chewing or rolling your piercing along your teeth, and check your gums every few weeks for irritation or recession. Make sure you keep your 6 monthly dentist appointments to check for teeth or gum damage you might not be able to see.
And finally, we recommend that lip bars and balls should be plastic, and not metal. While metal bars and balls are the most common, these are also what causes the majority of damage to teeth and gums.
If you are wearing or considering an oral piercing, it’s important to take your oral health into account. Our team is highly trained and committed to providing you the very best advice and service and will be able to help you understand the risks and work out a care plan for your piercing. For more information about oral piercings or to book your appointment, get in touch with us today.