Tongue Piercings: What You Need To Know

tongue piercing

photo credit: michaelallroy via photo pin cc

Tongue piercing is a form  body piercing that involves a needle being inserted through the mid-line of the tongue so that a stud, hoop or barbell can be inserted. This type of piercing is usually done without anesthetics.

Tongue piercings tend to be popular among adolescents and young adults. For those in the western world, the tongue is the 3rd most popular piercing site after the ear and nostril.

Oral piercings such as tongue rings can be dangerous because they consistently come into contact with bacteria and they are within close proximity to delicate structures inside the mouth. General dental health can be compromised and orthodontic problems are possible side-effects.

Tongue Piercing Risks:

  • Tongue Swelling – While swelling of the tongue is expected after piercing, in some cases it can swell significantly enough to close off the airway making it difficult to breathe.
  • Prolonged Bleeding – Damage to the tongue’s blood vessels can cause serious blood loss.
  • Gum Recession – This is caused by repeatedly pushing the piercing against the front teeth. When gums recede, the bone underneath is reabsorbed by the body. This can loosen the teeth and ultimately cause them to fall out.
  • Infection – The mouth is home to thousands of bacteria that can penetrate the inner tissue of the tongue where it has the potential to cause infections not only in the tongue but in other parts of the body. To decrease the risk of serious infection It’s extremely important to follow proper care instructions with emphasis on keeping the piercing area clean.
  • Chipped/Cracked Teeth – Because of the continuous rubbing of the metal/plastic against teeth, tiny cracks can form and cause severe pain. Also, a tooth could fracture and leave the nerve exposed.
  • Allergic – Some individuals experience a hypersensitivity reaction to the metal in the jewelry.
  • Chewing / Swallowing Food – The piercing jewelry stimulates an excessive production of saliva often making it difficult to speak clearly. Temporary or permanent drooling is another consequence of increased saliva production. Taste can also be altered.

Before having a tongue piercing, consult with a dentist and a physician. Learn the facts and the warnings before your piercing leaves you tongue tied.


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