There are many different types of oral piercings, including tongue rings as well as lip and cheek studs, that people choose to wear to express themselves. These piercings typically involve wearing a piece of stainless steel jewelry in the mouth, which can rub against teeth or gums to potentially cause oral health problems.
Oral piercings have the potential to damage both your teeth and gums, especially when worn over a long period of time. Here’s how these piercings could impact your smile in the long run!
Tongue Rings Can Chip Your Teeth
Tongue rings typically include a barbell worn through the tongue. When chewing food, the barbell has the potential to knock against teeth and chip them. Tongue rings can even cause cracks in your tooth enamel . Some people may even experience tooth sensitivity if the tongue ring is positioned in such a way that it rubs against the tooth enamel.
Lip and Tongue Piercings Can Cause Gum Recession
Both lip and tongue rings can contribute to receding gums. When the jaw is at rest, a tongue ring can lie against the backside of the bottom row of your front teeth (your central and lateral incisors), where it can rub against the gum tissue to cause the gums to pull away from the teeth.
Lip studs and rings can rub against the teeth and gum tissue just on the inside of your bottom lip. Gum recession is common in people who wear these types of oral piercings for a significant length of time. While mild gum recession can usually be reversed, severe gum recession will typically need a gum graft to restore your smile.
Potential for Oral Infections
Oral piercings, like any piercing, have the potential to get infected. Between touching your mouth to clean the jewelry and changing jewelry out, these piercings can lead to an infection that will require professional treatment to heal . In addition, people who don’t follow their piercer’s instructions for healing can also increase their risk for an infection—keeping your hands and jewelry clean is essential!
Oral Piercings Can Also Affect Tooth Enamel
Your tooth enamel has the risk of being worn away when it’s in constant contact with your oral jewelry . Tooth enamel is the hardest layer of your teeth and meant to protect them from sensitivity, decay, and discoloration. Once tooth enamel is gone, it doesn’t grow back. The longer you wear your oral piercing, you risk tooth enamel damage that can increase your risk for cavities and sensitive teeth.
How to Take Care of Your Smile With Oral Piercings
It’s important to always follow your piercer’s instructions for healing and jewelry wear—wearing jewelry that’s the inappropriate size for your piercing can cause even more damage! Whether you have oral piercings or not, your dentist can help protect your smile.
Your oral health problems can be treated, especially if caught early. With regular checkups, your dentist can spot gum recession and enamel damage early on to help you overcome these issues that can cause long-term damage to your smile!