Are Mouth Piercings Bad for You?


Of course we have more to say about it than just “yes”.  But the answer to the overall question is a resounding yes.  Mouth piercings seem to grow in fade in popularity over time.  We have seen the damage they can cause to the mouth, so we always urge our patients to avoid them and remove ones that are already present.  Here’s why.

Mouth Piercings Can Cause Gum Recession.

The most common consequence of oral piercings is damage to the gum tissue on the teeth closest to the piercing.  For those with tongue piercings, we commonly see the gums receding on the inside of the lower front teeth.  Lip piercings can irritate the gum tissues on the outside of the lower front teeth nearest the piercing.

Some of this damage occurs from the simple friction the piercing creates from touching the gums.  Most of it, though, comes from the constant movement of the piercing.  It is common for those with piercings to “play” with them, moving them around continually.  This movement is a constant irritant to the gums, which recede in response.

Gum recession is a serious problem, as it causes sensitivity in the teeth and loss of support surrounding the teeth.  Teeth with receding gums also have an unattractive appearance.  In order to “fix” gum recession, you have to see your dentist for expensive gum repair, like gum grafting.

Mouth Piercings Can Chip and Break Your Teeth.

In addition to damaging the gum tissues, the hard metal of mouth piercings can also chip and break the teeth.  As people play with the piercing, one of the feelings they enjoy is the clicking and clacking against the teeth.  Depending on the force of the impact between the metal piercing and the teeth, this can cause chipping or breaking of the teeth.

The risk for damage to the teeth is higher with larger, heavier piercings.  You can reduce the risk (a little, anyway) by using a plastic piercing.  The risk also increases if there is already weakness in the teeth, whether from decay or previous injuries.  These injuries can lead to the need for expensive dental restorations in order to repair the broken tooth structure and return the tooth to the original shape, size and function.

Mouth Piercings Leave Scars.

The tissue of the lips and tongue contain many muscle fibers, nerves and blood vessels.  This tissue is important in being able to speak and eat normally.  When you place a piercing into these tissues, they commonly form a thick band of scar tissue around the piercing.

This scar tissue will remain in the tissue for the rest of your life, even after you remove the piercing.  It can affect the taste buds on the tongue in that area.  In the case of lip piercings, it may leave visible scarring on the outside of the lip.

You may be able to reduce some of the scar tissue buildup through laser therapy, but more likely, it will persist for the rest of your life.

More Questions about Mouth Piercings?

Call Timberlake Dental at 940-382-1750 today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chowning.  He can answer any question you have about mouth piercings and help you repair any damage yours may have caused.

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