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To some, getting an oral piercing might be the cool thing to do, but dental and health professionals advise strongly against it due to the lengthy list of risks to your health and well being. If you are interested in getting a tongue, lip, or other oral piercing, make sure you take the following risks into consideration. You might just ask yourself, “Is this really worth it?”

Common risks and results from oral piercings include:

  • Tooth Loss
  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Drooling
  • Swelling
  • Taste Loss
  • Chipped Teeth
  • Scarring

Fractured teeth are a common issue that people with oral piercings face. Often their teeth are chipped while eating, talking, sleeping, or chewing on the jewelry. The fracture could go deep into the tooth, possibly resulting in an extraction or root canal. In addition, excessive rubbing by oral piercing jewelry can cause the gums to recede, which could result in tooth sensitivity and even tooth loss.

There are possibilities of more serious complications as well. When the tongue is punctured, large amounts of swelling can occur, and in extreme cases, this swelling can cut off the airway and prevent breathing. Also remember that your mouth contains high amounts of bacteria, which can enter your bloodstream through an oral piercing. Contracting an infection in your oral piercing puts you at risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). There is also the chance that infection could spread through the bloodstream to the heart, putting you in a life threatening condition.

Of course the best option is to consider removing mouth jewelry before it causes a problem, or avoid oral piercings altogether. Don’t pierce on a whim. The piercing will be an added responsibility to your life, requiring constant attention and upkeep. Talk to your dentist for more information.