Body piercing is becoming quite
popular. Piercing parts of the mouth (oral) as body decoration. Oral
piercing are seen in people of all ages and of all ages and of all
professions but are more common in young adults.
Oral piercing sites include the
tongue, the uvula (the soft tissue hanging at the back of the mouth), the
lower and upper lips, the cheeks or even a combination of these sites. The
tongue, being the most common area, is usually pierced in the middle,
towards the tip. It may be pierced through its width, from right to left, or
through its thickness.
Reasons for Intra-Oral
Reasons for Piercing may
- Cosmetic and aesthetic
- Religious or cultural reasons
- Enhance sexual feeling
- Sensation of pain
How Oral Piercing is
- Oral piercing is frequently
done by unlicensed practitioners who are often self trained.
- Infection control standards
should be followed. These are: disposable gloves, sterile or disposable
instruments and sterilized jewelry. If you enter a piercing shop and
it doesn't smell like a hospital, LEAVE.
- Jewelry includes studs, hoops
and barbell shaped devices. Surgical grade stainless steel, 14-karat gold
or niobium oral jewelry is recommended. The device must be
- Local anesthetic is not
used, since the technician is not a licensed physician.
- A needle, of the same shape
and size as the device being inserted into the tissues, sometimes
placed inside a plastic sheath punctures the tongue. The needle is
then removed, leaving in the sheath until a temporary device is placed.
Sometimes hollow needles are used, eliminating the need for the sheath.
- The temporary device must
be as long or longer than the permanent device in order to allow immediate
and increasing swelling of the tongue. Surgical removal of the device
is necessary if swelling imbeds it into the tongue.
- Within 3-6 weeks, the piercing
is considered healed but it could be several months before there is
no longer any risk of the perforation closing up.
Problems That May Be
- Pain, swelling, infection due
to digital manipulation (handling) of the jewelry and large amounts of
bacteria in the mouth, increased salivary flow, and redness due to the
high blood flow to the tongue.
- Transmission of diseases
such as Hepatitis, HIV, Herpes Simplex Virus, Tetanus.
- Prolonged bleeding if blood
vessels are punctured.
- Hazard to the airway by
swelling of the tongue or aspiration of the jewelry.
- Allergy to metals and galvanic
- Loss of taste, mobility
and numbness of the tongue.
- Constant irritation to
the oral tissues, including gingival injury.
- Difficulty with mastication, speech and swallowing.
- Abrasion and fracture of
the dentition and restorations.
- Damage to the pulp of the
- Obstruction of radiographs
of the oral cavity and skull.
the 4-6 week healing period:
- Absolutely NO tobacco use!
- Refrain from talking too
much for a few days after the piercing in order to release discomfort
- Recommended regular use
of warm salt water or antiseptic mouthwash.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages
and spicy foods
- Intake of soft foods and
vitamin supplements may facilitate tissue healing.
- Abstain from deep kissing
and oral sex for at least 2 weeks in order to reduce the risk of infection.
After the piercing site has
healed, the device may be removed for a short period of time:
- Clean after every meal with a
toothbrush and mouth rinse.
- Remove device and clean all
- Avoid hard and sticky
- Proper care should be taken
during participation in strenuous sports activities.
- If you develop a habit
of biting on the device:
- A shorter bar could be used to prevent
biting on the oral jewelry.
- A night guard or splint may be worn to
protect the teeth.
- Removal of the device would prevent any
trauma to the teeth.
It is important to have full
knowledge of potential complications and continually monitor for possible
infection. If complications
occur, go back to where the piercing was done or contact this office.