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What You Need To Know About Oral Piercing

What is oral piercing?

Oral piercing, like tattooing, is one of today’s popular forms of body art and self-expression to flaunt particular style or attitude. It may also be a cultural and religious thing in some societies. Unlike piercings in other parts of body, the moist environment in the oral cavity can complicate piercing.

Materials for oral jewellery commonly used after piercing include 14K or 18K gold, surgical stainless steel, titanium, niobium, biocompatible polymers, or glass. Cheaper materials, particularly nickel, may cause allergic reactions. In order to avoid injury to the patient, the jewellery must be professionally selected and of appropriate length and width.

What are the common sites for oral piercing?

  • Tongue
  • Lip
  • Cheeks
  • Uvula (the tiny tissue that hangs at the back of the throat)
  • Frenum

Is It Safe?

Piercing the tongue, lips, cheeks or uvula is not as safe as some would have you believe. This is because of possible complications and side effects.

What are the common complications?

  • Infection, pain and swelling
  • Bleeding or hematoma
  • Injuries to the gums
  • Chipped or cracked teeth (due to metal irritants from jewellery used)
  • Nerve damage
  • Possible transmissions of disease such as, tuberculosis, hepatitis, AIDS , when procedures are not done under  proper infection control standards

What are the common side effects?

  • Excessive drooling
  • Damage to fillings
  • Hypersensitivity to metals
  • Scar tissue
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of sensations  and taste

Deciding to pierce or not to pierce?

Get the facts before you decide whether piercing is right for you If you’re unsure and worry that you might regret it someday, give yourself more time to make informed decisions about it. At any time, do not allow yourself to be pressured into getting a piercing by your peers.

What should I do if I already have pierces?

Oral pierce needs special aftercare.Unlike other types of body piercings, oral piercings are under continual stress from bacteria in the mouth, contamination from food and drink, irritation from chewing, or touching with unsanitary hands.

So make sure you :

  • Regularly clean your mouth and pierce by rinsing with alcohol-free mouthwash or sterile saline solution after meals and before bedtime.
  • Brush jewellery at night with a clean soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Avoid alcohol, chewing gum, smoking, or chewing on foreign objects such as pencils.
  • Avoid salty, acidic, or hot food
  • Take off pierce when swimming because metal may react with chlorine
  • Remove jewellery before strenuous exercise
  • Have a regular dental check-up

What should I do if I have complications after piercing?

If you are suffering from complications and side effects, do not attempt to treat yourself. Get professional help soonest possible.

Last reviewed : 25 April 2014
Writer : Dr. Lydia Mason ak Lionel
Accreditor : Dr. Savithri a/p Vengadasalam
Reviewer : Dr. Sharol Lail b. Sujak