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Keep Your Teen’s Smile Safe from the Dangers of Oral Piercing

Apr 21, 2015 - 04:04 PM EST |  Posted under: General

Although any pediatric dentist can tell you how risky an oral piercing is, they’re wildly popular among teenagers and young adults. If your teen is considering a tongue piercing, try sharing these alarming facts.

Oral Piercing Complications

Oral jewelry can chip or fracture teeth during sleeping or eating. In severe cases, root canals or even extractions may be necessary. Severe swelling of the tongue after piercing is a serious complication that may require hospitalization and placement of a breathing tube. Because of oral bacteria, infections of the tongue are also common. Allergic reactions to metals used in jewelry can cause swelling and pain. Recovery from a tongue piercing can take up to six weeks and may be extremely uncomfortable. Long-term damage from piercings includes loss of taste, nerve damage, and drooling.

Reducing Oral Piercing Risks Through Teens Dental Care

If your teen decides to get a tongue piercing despite warnings from you and his or her pediatric dentist, don’t panic. With careful attention to teens dental care, some of the dangers of an oral piercing can be minimized. Here are a few tips to help your teen avoid infection and tooth damage.

  • Ensure that the person performing the oral piercing procedure sterilizes instruments properly to protect against transmissible diseases.
  • Be sure the piercer uses only surgical-grade stainless steel jewelry for the initial piercing.
  • After the piercing is properly healed, the barbell can be removed or replaced with a plug to protect teeth during activities like eating and sleeping.
  • When initial tongue swelling subsides, have your teen replace a larger barbell with a smaller one; this reduces the risk of damage to tooth enamel.
  • Advise your teen to use an antiseptic mouthwash after every meal to keep the piercing clean. While brushing his or her teeth, your teen should also remove and brush the oral jewelry to eliminate plaque.
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