Cosmetic & General Dentistry

Piercings and Oral Health


The majority of dentists will warn against oral piercings due to the various complications that they entail. The side effects you may encounter after a piercing in any part of your mouth is similar to those you would experience if you suffered a random puncture wound, or underwent a procedure that required an incision. This entails mainly swelling, pain, and the formation of scar tissue. Infections are always a danger initially, but secondary infections are much more serious.  In some cases, secondary infections on oral piercings can be catastrophic that surgery is needed to correct the damage, and it’s not always reversible.

What Are Oral Piercings?

Any piercing that inhibits or involves the oral cavity qualifies, but the most common locations for mouth piercings are the tongue and the labret. Other popular choices are the cheeks, lips, and uvula.

What Are Some Complications of Oral Piercings?

The location determines the complication, as the most commonly reported are chipped teeth due to the end of the stud constantly knocking against the enamel. Ones that go through the mouth floor tend to be the ones that are at the most risk of developing secondary infections. Nerve damage is a threat to all oral piercings, and many studs can leave damage to the gum tissue. This is ultimately bad for the teeth and can cause periodontal disease.

How to Obtain Safe Oral Piercings?

No piercing is 100% foolproof, but it’s always a good idea to speak with a dentist prior to getting an oral piercing to speak about your options and the risks involved.  If you decide to go through with your decision to get an oral piercing, make sure to take the time to properly research the facility you choose. Check out their infection control policies and ask about their sterilization procedures.  Make sure that you know your follow up care prior to getting started, and confirm the details before you leave the facility.

How Do I Clean Oral Piercings?

Always clean your mouth jewelry the same way you would your teeth, as often as you clean your teeth. For any studs that are near your teeth or touch your teeth, plastic ends should be used and changed every 60 days.

If you should notice pus near the source of your pain, this is usually a sign of an abscessed tooth, which has caused the bone near the tooth to become infected. Or it could be an indication of gum disease.

When to Get Help

Be sure to contact your dentist or doctor immediately if you find you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Pain when biting down
  • Swelling
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • A terrible tasting discharge

Any type of piercing complication, no matter how minor, should never be ignored. Left untreated it will only get worse. However, if for some reason you cannot get to your dentist right away, there are a few methods that can help relieve some of the pain and inflammation temporarily.

  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water
  • Take over the counter painkillers such as Advil or Tylenol
  • There are over the counter antiseptics made especially for mouth pain. Look for one that contains benzocaine
  • If you have swelling, apply a cold compress, 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off, to the outside of the swollen area

Always consider the risk before choosing to get an oral piercing, and make sure to see Weston Dental Office at (416) 247-1928 on a regular basis to ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy.


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