Piercings are commonplace in many cultures on different parts of the body. In the United States, we’ve thought nothing of piercings in the ears for many years. Over time, people have made piercings on other parts of the body transition from scandalous to no big deal. The theory of those making a fashion statement with a piercing might be that this does not have to be a permanent form of self-expression. Unfortunately, when it comes to oral piercings in the lips or tongue, there is more at stake than the brief discomfort of getting pierced. Tooth damage and even tooth loss are possible complications of oral piercings, as your Riverside dentists at Riverside Dental Group will explain.

Damage to Teeth and Gums

A study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association pointed out the dangers of constant contact between oral jewelry and gingival tissues. Dental issues such as chipped teeth, fractured teeth, nerve damage, and receding gums are all seen in dental offices by panicking patients that never realized a little piercing could turn into such a problem. Dr. John K. Brooks, associate professor at the University of Maryland Dental School was at the helm of this particular research. Dr. Brooks stated, “wearing oral piercing ornaments, even over relatively short periods, may result in significant deformities to gingival tissue (gums) that might not respond satisfactorily to surgery and, in fact, may lead to tooth loss.”

Oral Piercing Study

The oral piercing study called upon five adults who already had oral piercings. When they were examined, three patients showed signs of periodontitis (severe gum disease). Periodontitis is the number one cause of adult tooth loss in America and can result in a separation between jawbone and gum tissues to create periodontal pockets. One research participant – a 19-year-old woman – exhibited significant gum recession, and she had only had her piercing for five months. Gum tissue recession is not common with someone so young.

Visit Your Riverside Dentists

Your Riverside dentists recommend that you think twice about opting for an oral piercing for the benefit of your dental health. We are happy to offer comprehensive dentistry for the whole family. If you are due for a dental checkup or cleaning, contact our 92506 dentist office at (951) 369-1001. We serve patients throughout Riverside County.