Are you considering a trendy tongue or lip ring? While piercings are a common form of self-expression that many people enjoy, they do present hidden risks to your oral health. From accelerating tooth wear that might require treatment from a dentist to increasing one’s risks for oral infections, it’s important to evaluate the pros and cons of oral piercings before you make your decision.
Tooth Wear and Piercings
The materials used to construct oral piercings can literally damage tooth structure. When oral piercings repeatedly make contact with teeth, it can cause chips and fractures. Metal piercings making contact with teeth will also damage tooth enamel.
Damaged tooth enamel along with chips and fractures leaves teeth susceptible to tooth decay and further degradation, which requires professional treatment like restorations to protect teeth. Common restorations for damaged teeth include fillings, inlays, onlays, and dental crowns. Without these restorations, patients are at risk for developing decay, abscesses, and ultimately the need for tooth extractions.
Adding further insult to injury is the fact that many people develop habits of tapping their piercings into their teeth. Beyond the contact the piercing might make with teeth through normal oral function, excessive tapping where piercings hit teeth can accelerate permanent dental damage.
Increased Risks for Oral Infections
Many people think that oral piercings only increase the risk for infection while they heal but this isn’t true. Our mouths are home to millions of bacteria, many of which contribute to infections beyond periodontal disease and dental caries.
While piercings can develop infections as they heal, they still pose risks for infections once the healing process is complete. If you decide to accept this risk, keep in mind that the sooner you treat an infection the better. If you notice changes in your oral health such as persistent bad breath, a change in the appearance of your gums, and the development of sores, make an appointment for a checkup with our dentist.
Call the office of Dr. John Morris to ask questions about your oral health or to schedule a visit.