Tongue piercing remains a trend despite the dangers to oral health. People with tongue piercings chip their teeth on the jewellery while eating, sleeping, talking and chewing. The fracture can be confined to tooth enamel and require a filling, or it may go deeper, which can lead to a root canal or tooth extraction. It can even impair speech and the ability to chew.
Infections are also common with oral piercings. The tongue can swell after being punctured, and in some cases can become infected and swell to such a degree that it interferes with breathing. Unclean piercing equipment can cause other infections, such as blood-borne hepatitis.
If you decide to have your tongue or lip pierced, there is some information that you need to know:
- Oral piercing should be done in an inspected premise. Ask for the most recent inspection report. If the premise cannot provide it for you, it may have something to hide.
- Piercing is most often done in unregulated parlours by untrained staff.
- Choose a parlour that is clean, sanitary and well lit.
- There must be sterilizing equipment present and used on tools for piercing.
- Follow after-care instructions closely.
- Never pierce yourself or a friend.
- Maintain excellent oral hygiene by brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day.
- Visit your dentist regularly.
Contact your dentist or doctor immediately if you experience any symptoms of infection, such as swelling, pain, fever or chills.