Want To Pierce Your Tongue?
Dr. Mitchell Chun
Oral piercing may seem hip and fashionable,
but it may also cause pain, swelling, infection, drooling, taste loss,
scarring, chipped teeth and tooth loss. Most dentists discourage oral
piercing because of these risks.
If you decide to get an oral piercing, make
sure that you ask the person performing the piercing about care after the
piercing, possible side effects, cleanliness and anything else that may
concern you. Does the piercer use a fresh needle for every piercing? Some
may reuse needles to keep down the cost of the piercing. Make sure all
needles and instruments being used are sterilized.
Also, make sure that they use the right kind
of metal, such as surgical-grade stainless steel. Some people have
allergic reactions to certain metals, which
can lead to further complications.
Fractured teeth can be a common problem for
people with oral piercings. People chip teeth on tongue piercings while
eating, sleeping, talking or simply chewing on the jewelry.
If at any time you feel you may have an
infection, see your dentist at the first sign of a problem. It is not
unusual for the tongue to swell after being punctured but in some cases,
the tongue becomes infected and swells so much that it can affect your
Once your tongue has been pierced, it will
take three to four weeks to heal. Barring complications, you will be able
to remove the jewelry for short periods of time without the hole closing.
Some suggest that you remove the jewelry to protect your teeth every time
you eat or sleep. Some parlors sell plugs that you can place in the hole,
which should allow you to remove the jewelry for as long as necessary.
The piercer will place a larger, starter
“barbell” in your tongue to give it enough room to heal when your
tongue swells. If you decide to keep the piercing, make sure to get a
smaller barbell after the swelling goes down, which will be less likely to
get in the way of your teeth and more difficult for you to chew on.
Keep your piercing clean. Use an antiseptic
mouthwash after every meal and brush the jewelry the same as you would
your teeth. You may also want to remove the piercing before eating,
sleeping or strenuous activity.