Pediatric Dentistry Warnings About Oral Piercings

Do you have or know a teen who wants to get a piercing? It may not be uncommon for kids wanting to get their ears pierced, but teenage oral piercing seems to be a growing trend. This is worrisome for dentists in pediatric dentistry practices. Piercings are a form of self-expression. However, there are risks that come with piercings.

Causes of Infection

Any kind of piercing can lead to an infection, whether it’s ears, belly button, or oral. Bacteria present at the piercing site can cause the infection.

The average human mouth is home to millions of bacteria, and a piercing is essentially an open wound filled with a metal decoration.

This open wound makes it easy for bacteria to get under the tissue and cause an infection.

Additional Pediatric Dentistry Issues with Piercings

  • Piercings, as well as tongue splitting, often cause a lot of swelling. When a person pierces or splits their tongue, the swelling can actually get so bad that it closes off the teen’s airway.
  • Low quality pieces of jewelry can chip or break off, causing cuts or a blockage of the airway.
  • Poorly placed or oversize piercings can repeatedly hit teeth, causing them to wear down. Biting down on a piece of jewelry can fracture a tooth, leading to other infections.
  • Constant “playing” with a piercing can cause inflammation at the piercing site, and it can also damage the gums and teeth.
  • Nerve damage is a common occurrence after a piercing or tongue splitting. Usually, it is just a numb tongue for a few hours, but it could last a lot longer and require professional dental attention.Nerve damage can also alter the sense of taste.
  • Piercings can cause an excess buildup of saliva, which can lead to excessive drooling.
  • Pieces of jewelry can interfere with typical dentistry, including regular checkups, x-rays, and other dental procedures.

Avoiding Pediatric Dentistry Problems with Piercings

It is highly recommended that you and your teenager talk to a pediatric dentist in Houston before deciding to get a piercing.

However, if your child already has an oral piercing, have them keep an eye on any symptoms of an infection, including:

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Fever / Chills
  • Red-streaks around the piercing site

Be sure that they keep the piercing site clean and free of debris. Use mouth rinses often.

Check for loose jewelry and, with clean hands, tighten any that appears loose. This will reduce the chances of accidentally swallowing a piece.

Remove any jewelry when participating in sports. Use sports mouth guards to protect the teeth, gums, and tongue.

Have your teen see a dentist in Houston regularly, at least every six months, to ensure no problems are arising from any piercings.