7 Dental Dangers of Tongue Piercing

by admin on February 10, 2009

Tongue piercing is a fad these days, a bold style statement which lures many people especially teenagers to go for it. People tend to overlook the possible health hazards that are caused by tongue piercings. Apart from general health hazards tongue piercings have many oral hazards.

Seven common oral hazards associated with tongue piercings are:

1. Chipped or Broken Front Teeth

Many people who opt for tongue barbells end up with chips, cracks and fractures to their front teeth. These damaged teeth have to be repaired by using crowns or fillings and even these can wear out due to the action of metal over teeth.

2. Gum Surgery

Tongue barbells rubbing against the gum tissues can damage the sensitive tooth gums and have to be treated by surgery by a periodontist.

3. Swallowing the barbell

The piercing is subjected to constant stress in the oral environment and can get unscrewed. It could end up getting swallowed or get stuck in your lungs.

4. Infection and death

Major blood vessels connect the tongue with brain and other areas. Damaging such blood vessels can cause infection which can spread to vital organs of the body such as brain which in severe cases can even kill a person.

5. Blood loss and nerve damage

As mentioned previously, tongue has large blood vessels and you would need to get it surgically treated if one of them gets perforated.
Damage to any nerve of the tongue would mean irreparable damage and makes the tongue functionless.

6. Lingering Pain.

Tongue piercing has also been associated with cases of neuralgia which is severe and long lasting nerve pain.

7. Hepatitis or HIV

Instruments that are not sterilized properly can pass HIV infection to the person getting the tongue pierced. Hence, it should be emphasized that such procedures must be done at reputable clinics only or possibly avoided all together.

{ 1 comment }

Courtney January 2, 2010 at 4:54 pm

As a piercer, I’m certainly concerned about addressing, and if possibly minimizing, the risks associated with oral piercing. However I feel that many of the risks discussed publicly are misleading.
Damage to teeth and gums is most commonly cause by two things: People playing with their jewelry, and people wearing jewelry that doesn’t fit correctly. An overwhelming number of people I see in public are doing both. Not playing with jewelry, and downsizing it immediately after the end of the initial swelling is vital.
The risk of swallowing jewelry is real, however extremely rare to cause any actual consequences. Wearing good quality jewelry will help, as most cheaper jewelry comes apart easily without warning. Better made jewelry has very secure threaded on it that will stay in place almost indefinitely when tightened properly.
While infections do occasionally happen, they are mostly not a problem unless ignored.
Severe infections and death are EXCEPTIONALLY RARE and have been linked primarily to previously existing health conditions that may have been triggered by a great number of things. Meaning: the piercing itself is not going to kill you.
Blood loss(which would never reach a dangerous level unless sincerely neglected!), nerve damage, and lingering pain are all “possible” as well, however sincerely doubt that the percentage of occurrence actually warrants concern. Every activity on this planet has caused someone catastrophic consequences. But one rare happening doesn’t make the issue relevant. Any of us could be stuck by lightening- we go outside anyway.
Hepatitis and HIV are obviously risks: But it is the job of the person getting pierced to research their piercer, and make sure that they are going to meet the standards necessary to prevent the spread of disease. Hospitals do much more invasive procedures every day on people with blood borne illnesses, and they are successful. Its possible. So don’t be afraid of hepatitis, be afraid of dirty piercers, and do your research!
Piercings can be both wonderfully beneficial, and potentially dangerous, in the wrong hands’ However, the real risks are in the lack of information, and the lack of demand for high quality piercers. People need to know what they should be REALLY looking for, and when you find a good piercer, support them with all your might! If the public pays more attention, eventually there will no longer be a place in the market for unskilled piercers, and they will disappear. Its everyone’s job to make that happen!
I suggest all people who are curious about piercings, and all medical professionals, make themselves familiar with safepiercing.org. Information is Power!

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