Oral piercings—like tongue or lip rings—may look cool, but they can cause big problems for your mouth. Here are three ways oral piercings can damage your oral health.
They can chip your teeth
Both lip or tongue rings can lead to chipped teeth. Biting any hard object can lead to a chipped tooth, and when you have a lip ring, the temptation to play with it and nibble on it can be overwhelming. In the case of tongue rings, the chip can happen when the ring makes contact with your teeth while you're talking.
If you develop a small chip, treatment can be as simple as polishing the tooth to even out the enamel and disguise the chip. On the other hand, larger chips can expose the tooth's nerves and make you need a root canal procedure.
They can make your gums recede
When oral piercings rest against your gum tissue, they can wear down your soft tissue very quickly. In fact, this can happen within a period of several weeks after getting the piercing! When your gums recede, the sensitive tooth roots and nerves are exposed, and you'll notice sensitivity and pain, so this should be avoided.
If you must get a lip piercing, discuss its placement with your piercer. The piercing may be able to be placed in an area that keeps it from constantly pressing against your gum tissue. Ball closure rings on the back of the piercing can also help to cushion your gums; recession will still occur, but it will happen less quickly.
They can damage your restorations
Your oral piercings can also damage your restorations, such as fillings. If you have fillings, they could be dislodged if the piercing strikes or rubs against the filling material. If your filling falls out, you could be left with discomfort or pain, and you'll need to see your dentist immediately. If a lost filing isn't replaced, bacteria could enter your tooth and lead to an infection; this will require a root canal or even an extraction to fix.
Oral piercings can also damage other types of restorations, like crowns. When your tongue ring hits your crowns, it can cause cracks or other damage.
Before you get your tongue or lip pierced, consider the damage the jewelry could do to your mouth. If you choose to get the piercing, make sure to see your dentist regularly so that problems can be found and fixed early. For more information, contact local professionals like Dentistry For Children & Adolescents.