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Tongue Piercing Risks

The Dangers of Tongue Piercings

The piercing fad may come and go, but for people with pierced tongues, adverse effects could last a lifetime. The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) reported that tongue piercing can result in chipped teeth, infections, nerve and gum damage, drooling, taste loss, and tooth loss. Irritation from the barbell-shaped jewelry could result in periodontal disease or oral cancer. So while it may be fun for a teen to wag a pierced tongue in hopes of disapproval from conventional society, damaged and missing teeth, disease, and life-threatening cancer are far from cool.

Tongue Piercing: The Image Risk

Forty-seven percent of people who have worn tongue jewelry for four or more years have chipped teeth. This kind of damage can eventually send people to the dentist for fillings, crowns, root canals, or extractions. At eighteen, looking cool means a lot, but image is important in the business world, too. Because tongue jewelry can chip teeth, wearers may have to spend thousands of dollars on dental procedures to regain the smile they’ll want later in life – the smile that can help them earn the money and achieve the success that will shape their adult lives.

Schedule a complimentary consultation and learn more by calling us at (718) 550-3541 today!

Tongue Piercing: The Health Risk

The tongue is covered with bacteria, and when pierced, that bacteria can get in the bloodstream and underlying tongue tissues. This can cause serious infections. Unfortunately, tongue jewelry wearers may not be aware of a problem since the symptoms of infection, such as swelling, are similar to the after effects of piercing.

Furthermore, dentists have reported a rise in cases of Ludwig’s angina, a severe infection of the floor of the mouth and jaws, in patients with tongue piercings. When Ludwig’s angina occurs, the tongue may swell so much that it inhibits breathing. Another condition afflicting patients with pierced tongues is endocarditis, a disease caused when bacteria enters the bloodstream and infects and weakens heart valves.

Since the tongue repeatedly rubs against the same areas, people with tongue piercings may develop mouth ulcers from constant irritation. These ulcers can result in oral cancer. Precancerous ulcers can only be detected during an oral cancer screening by the dentist.

Another problem that concerns the AGD is that few standards for body piercers exist. Dental offices adhere to strict OSHA and CDC guidelines for sterilization and infection control. How clean are the tools a piercing studio uses? You can’t be sure they’re clean at all. Contaminated piercing tools can put people at risk for serious infections like hepatitis and HIV.

Tongue Piercing: Avoiding the Risks

If you still want to have your tongue pierced, we strongly encourage you to reconsider. However, if these statistics and risks haven’t changed your mine, follow a few precautionary guidelines to protect your oral and overall health:

  • Choose a reputable piercing studio. Ask about sterilization procedures, and make sure you’re comfortable with the level of infection control the studio practices.
  • Ask your piercer about after care, and follow cleaning instructions to the letter. Rinse with mouthwash multiple times daily, and brush your teeth and tongue jewelry to remove plaque.
  • Purchase a starter barbell made from surgical stainless steel to prevent an allergic reaction. Jewelry with plastic balls are gentler on teeth and oral tissues.
  • Once your tongue is pierced, the AGD recommends that you don’t touch the piercing since this can cause infection from bacteria on your fingers. If you see any sign of infection, see your dentist immediately.
  • People with pierced tongues should practice a stellar oral hygiene regimen.
  • Always remove the jewelry when eating or sleeping to avoid damaging teeth and oral tissues.
  • Piercing parlors sell plastic plugs to retain the piercing when jewelry is not worn.
  • Most importantly, people with pierced tongues should see a dentist regularly to make sure tongue and teeth stay healthy.

Contact us online or call (718) 550-3541 today!

You were very kind, gentle, knowledgeable and confident. You told me everything you were going to do which reassured me and made me feel very comfortable. Thank You so much for making it such a positive experience for me.

S. K.

Delivering Benefits to Your Dental Health

  • Advanced Technology & Equipment
    Our office is equipped with the latest dental technology, to provide our patients with safe and comfortable treatments.
  • Complete Dental Solutions in One Location
    Our staff is highly trained to handle a variety of dental problems, providing our patients with comprehensive care.
  • Personalized Dental Care
    Our team will work with you to provide dental care that will solve your dental needs.
  • Experienced Dentists
    Our dentists have provided patients in the Flushing area with quality dental care since 1986.
Dr. Richard Gochman


Improve Your Smile Now

We're Offering FREE Virtual Consultations

Receive quality dental care now! Connect with us today and get all of your questions answered in three easy steps.

Common Patient Questions

  • Q. How safe is teeth whitening?
    Teeth whitening treatments have been around for hundreds of years, and advancements in techniques and technology have provided us with bleaching gel that is 100 percent safe. The professional-grade bleaching gel that we use is highly effective at getting rid of discoloration and stains. We provide Zoom! WhiteningⓇ as an in-office treatment, and can also outfit you with a kit to take home.
  • Q. It’s been years since I’ve been to the dentist & I’m embarrassed about letting a professional see my mouth. How will I be tre
    We’d like to congratulate you on being proactive about your oral health. It’s never too late to start taking better care of your teeth. When you visit our office, we’ll make sure you feel welcomed, comfortable, and safe. Your dental care team will examine your oral health and discuss treatment options and a plan of action suitable to your needs, schedule, insurance, and budget.
  • Q. Do you stay current on the latest dental techniques, innovations, and materials?
    In order for our team to continue practicing, New York State has certain requirements for continuing education every year. However, we make sure to do much more than the bare minimum at NY Smile Creators. We subscribe to all of the relevant journals in the industry and hold memberships in professional dental associations geared toward furthering our education. We also do our best to attend as many conferences, lectures, and meetings held by such associations to absorb as much new information as we can.
  • Q. How do you ensure patient safety?

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have put forth strict guidelines for us to adhere to as a dental care provider. Some of these guidelines include the following:

    • Using an autoclave to sterilize all reusable instruments, and sealing these instruments individually before using them again
    • Disinfecting patient care areas between every patient visit
    • Choosing disposable products whenever possible
    • Wearing disposable gloves during examinations and procedures
  • Q. How Much Do Treatments Cost?
    There is no set price you can expect to pay because the amount is determined by your individual treatment plan. We take the time to discuss the costs associated with the procedure and your payment options, like third-party financing with CareCredit, LendingClub, and Wells Fargo.

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