The Cons of Oral Piercings for Teens

Tooth Character

After months and months of begging, you finally gave in and let your teenager get an oral piercing. Now your kid may be the biggest hit at school, but in the meantime, your trepidations have returned. As a good parent, you’re right to feel some reservations about your teen’s tongue piercing. This can actually be a big source of trouble for the mouth and could even cause dental problems and diseases.

The biggest and most obvious risk, as with all piercings, is that of infection.  The mouth contains millions of bacteria and unlike a skin infection in the ear or nose caused from an earring, if your teen’s mouth gets an infection from a piercing, the area will swell up significantly and be very painful.  In the case of a large infection, your child’s airway could even be restricted, which could be deadly.

Even if your kid doesn’t have an infection from his or her piercing, other oral problems can and do occur more subtly over time. First of all, constantly exposing the teeth to the metal of the piercing can strip away enamel, whether it’s a ball-shaped barbell or a traditional ring. Once enamel is gone, it doesn’t return. The teeth may look unattractive and are at a higher risk of developing cavities.

Besides that, your teenager can also find himself saddled with localized periodontal disease that they most likely wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Periodontal disease occurs when the gums recede.  When the gums start to recede, the bone that holds the teeth in is typically lost as well and your kid’s teeth can possibly fall out in the advanced stages if they develop this disease.

Other little annoyances can occur with an oral piercing as well, such as an increase of drooling, increased chance of cracking or chipping the teeth or dental restorations, bad breath if the piercing is not cleaned multiple times daily, and the development of a speech impediment. More seriously, if a tongue piercing is not done carefully, nerve damage is also a possibility.  This can affect the person’s ability to taste, talk and move the tongue.

Parents that are having second thoughts about their teen’s oral piercing can come by and visit Playtime Dental to discuss the next steps, including removal. Appropriate for children of all ages, the atmosphere at this kids’ dentist is designed to make young patients feel at ease as they learn how to take better care of their teeth and mouths.