Oral piercings

Dentists do not like oral piercings, and there is a considerable amount of misunderstanding as to why they don’t. Dentists are not opposed to oral piercings because they look ugly, or because they impede the treatment in any way, they do not like them because of the potentially negative effects of having a lip or tongue ring. I am going to risk the potential effects, but before I do, I want to make sure that it is clear that these are not an inevitability, and do not necessarily arise, but that oral piercings have caused this. Much is dependant on what the piercings tough, and how well they and the surrounding dental structures are maintained.

teeth vs piercing
Teeth vs. oral piercings

Chipped teeth

In an ancient article in the Journal of the American Dental Association dating back to July 2003, oral piercings were discussed. At that point they have been around long enough that we could really see the effects that they have on the teeth. Chipped teeth and teeth that have even amounts of wear are common. Usually, this wera will be on the lingual side, but this just means that the teeth look thin and wimpy and not outright damaged for longer, until of course they become structurally unsound and break off in little pieces. The oral piercings are harder than the teeth, and thus, when they meet, the teeth lose a little bit of enamel each time.

Piercing made teeth chipped

Receding gums

Because the gums are an organ and do not like the touch of metal, they will recede from the metal that is bothering them, and this causes a host of problems. Just as gums shy away from crowns, and create that dark line underneath the crown that old crowns are known for, so do the gums react when they come into contact with the piercings. Receded gums expose cementum and other tooth structures that do not want to be exposed at all. This makes teeth more likely to get cavities, and dries out the mouth as well.


Linked to the fact that oral piercings make gums recede, oral piercings also carry a heightened risk of contracting periodontitis as well. Because recessed gums contract bacteria as they are in a weaker, defensive state to begin with, they are more likely to become inflamed. Oral piercings can also harbor bacteria themselves if they are not cleaned and maintained properly, as plaque can set on the metal itself, and this can be transferred to the gums if they touch.

Nerve damage, inflammation

The site of the piercing is also a contentious area. The nerves cna eb damage din the tongue or lip if the person applying the piercing is an amateur or just does not check where the nerves are previously. This can be incredibly painful, but can also be even worse, it can cause numbness and a lack of feeling in the area, which can cause a speech impediment or even more severe problems. And of course, piercings done in places with improper hygiene can become infected and the piercing site can become pustulent. This is especially bad if the tongue is involved.

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