Oral piercing is a form of body modification that involves inserting jewellery, such as rings, studs, or barbells, into various parts of the mouth, such as the tongue, lip, cheek, or uvula. These piercings are often done for aesthetic reasons as a means of self-expression and personal style.
These piercings are usually performed by professional piercers who have experience and training in such procedures. The procedure involves using a sterilized needle to create a hole through the chosen area, followed by the insertion of jewellery.
1. Tongue Piercing: This involves piercing the tongue horizontally or vertically, typically through the midline. It is one of the most popular forms of oral piercing.
2. Lip Piercing: Lip piercings can be done in various locations, including the lower lip (labret piercing), upper lip (Monroe piercing), or either side of the lower lip (snake bite piercing).
3. Cheek Piercing: Also known as dimple piercings, cheek piercings involve placing jewellery through the cheeks. These piercings are less common than tongue or lip piercings.
4. Uvula Piercing: Uvula piercing is a less common form of oral piercing where the jewellery is inserted through the uvula, the small, dangling structure at the back of the throat.
While these piercings can be visually eye-capturing, it's important to be aware of the potential risks they pose to your dental health.
· Tooth Damage: One of the most significant risks associated with oral piercings is dental damage. The jewellery can come into contact with teeth when speaking, eating, or sleeping, leading to chips, cracks, or even tooth fractures over time.
· Excessive Salivation: Some individuals with tongue piercings may experience increased salivation, which can be uncomfortable and interfere with daily activities.
· Gum Irritation: The constant friction between oral jewellery and the gums can cause irritation, leading to gum recession. Gum recession exposes the tooth roots, making them more susceptible to decay and sensitivity.
· Infections: Piercing procedures, if not performed by a licensed and experienced professional, can introduce bacteria into the mouth, increasing the risk of infection. Infections can cause swelling, pain, and complications that may require medical attention.
· Swelling and Speech Problem: After getting an oral piercing, it's common to experience swelling, which can temporarily affect speech and make it challenging to eat and drink comfortably.
· Choking Hazard: Oral jewellery, especially small beads or studs, can become dislodged and pose a choking hazard if accidentally swallowed or aspirated and cause life-threatening situations.
· Uncontrolled Bleeding: If any blood vessel is damaged in the jewellery insertion procedure, then there can be severe blood loss.
· Risk of blood-borne diseases: Oral piercing provides or generates a pathway for bacteria to enter, which can lead to diseases like hepatitis.
How to care?
1. Choose a Professional: Seek out an expert and experienced piercer who follows strict hygiene and safety protocols.
2. Maintain Excellent Oral Hygiene: Brush your teeth and gums carefully, cleaning of tongue and flossing of teeth should be done regularly and use an alcohol-free, antimicrobial mouthwash to reduce the risk of infection.
3. Rinse with Saline Solution: Rinse your mouth with a saline solution after eating, drinking, or smoking to reduce the risk of infection.
4. Avoid Playing with the Jewellery: Resist the temptation to play with or constantly move the jewellery, as this can increase the risk of damage and irritation.
5. Look out for signs of infection: Be careful for signs of infection, such as increased pain, swelling, pus, or fever. If you suspect an infection, seek immediate medical attention.
6. Regular Dental Check-ups: Schedule regular dental check-ups to monitor your oral health and discuss any concerns with your dentist.
Dr Pankti Patel, the chief dentist and the cosmetic dentist of the best clinic in Ahmedabad, Teeth Care Centre, always advises her patients to refrain from any activity, that causes them any sort of permanent damage, by giving her honest opinion. Yet, she understands the fact that every person has a right to their self-expression. So, she always provides the best advice related to the patient’s dental well-being.
While oral piercings can be a unique form of self-expression, it's essential to be aware of the potential risks they pose to dental health. If you choose to get an oral piercing, do your research, choose a professional piercer, and prioritize good aftercare to reduce the chances of complications. Ultimately, your smile should reflect your unique style and personality without compromising your dental well-being.