Can an Oral Piercing be Bad for Oral Health?

piercingsPiercings of any kind can look cool, and some people feel they help them express themselves. As with any piercing, oral piercings also come with their own set of risks. At my Lewisburg dental office, we’re here not to discourage patients from getting a piercing if that’s what they want, but to educate them on the several potential problems associated with oral piercings.

What’s Got Us Worried?

Oral piercings can lead to a whole host of oral health issues. Before you make a decision to get one, we encourage to know the risks.

  • General Difficulties. Introducing a piercing to your mouth, whether in the form of a tongue, cheek, or lip piercing, can affect your daily activities like eating and talking.  
  • Tooth Damage. Piercings come with jewelry. Jewelry is hard in texture. When something hard is introduced to the mouth and banged off teeth repeatedly, damage will occur. Whether it’s a little chip or a big break, tooth damage allows bacteria to enter the tooth and leads to decay. Decay may then require a filling or, if left alone, even a root canal.
  • Gum Disease. Again, since there is something hard in the mouth, the chance for trauma to the teeth or gums is greatly increased. If your piercing irritates the gums, leading to damage, gum disease is a real possibility. An opening the gums allows bacteria to get below the teeth, leading to gum disease.
  • Infection. Perhaps the most serious concern of an oral piercing, like any piercing, is infection. But what makes oral infections a little more serious is that they are in the mouth. The mouth is wet and warm, which is the perfect place for bacteria to multiply. If a piercing leads to infection, the fact that the mouth is already home to millions of bacteria isn’t good. Infections that become serious can even cause the tongue to swell, blocking the airway and making it hard to breathe.

Decrease Your Risk

Taking care of your oral piercing can really help decrease the likelihood of a problem. Make sure you clean the area thoroughly and often, and rinse your mouth after eating to lower the chance of infection. Ensure the jewelry is secure to avoid a piece coming loose, causing you bite it and crack a tooth. Remember the signs of infection like redness, fever, chills, or swelling and seek medical attention immediately if you have any symptoms.

If you do decide to get an oral piercing, or if you already have one, and notice signs of infection or your teeth become damaged, call my dental office in Lewisburg as soon as you can. We’ll get you in for an appointment and talk about the best treatment options to help.

Accepting patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, Williamsport.

5 Things Your Lewisburg Dentist Can Tell From Looking in Your Mouth

dentist knows

Hygiene visits and dental checkups at my dental office in Lewisburg are an important part of a proper oral health routine. We’d go so far to say they may even be THE most important part. At these appointments, we’re not only able to identify common dental concerns like decay and cavities, we may also be able to tell certain things about you and your overall health, just by looking in your mouth.

  • You Used to Suck Your Thumb

A lot of babies and toddlers sucks their thumbs. And most of them stop early enough to not experience any long term effects. However, if it was harder for you to stop the habit and you continued to suck your thumb into age seven or eight, your adult teeth may be suffering. Protrusion of front teeth or jaw misalignment are both common signs of a former thumb sucker. Orthodontics or cosmetic treatments can help.

  • You Bite Your Nails

Without even glancing at your nails, your dentist may be able to tell that you’re a chronic nail biter. Those who bite their nails often typically have chips and cracks in their teeth, and the front ones are sometimes worn down and flat. Besides the cracks leaving little crevices for bacteria to nestle in, the change in tooth shape can throw off your bite, leading to jaw pain or other symptoms of TMD (temporomandibular disorder).

  • You Flossed Right Before Your Appointment

We appreciate the effort of a last minute floss, but if that’s the only time you’ve flossed since your last visit, we can tell. Red, puffy, and possibly bloody gums are telltale signs that you quickly flossed before your appointment. Those who floss regularly don’t show the same signs. We’ve said it before and we’ll keep saying it — you need to floss every day for optimal oral health.

  • You Have Bad Breath — And That’s Serious

Bad breath can be a sign of something serious, whether in your mouth or in your body.

The type of smell can actually indicate where the issue may be. Fruity breath is a common sign of diabetes while fishy breath could mean liver or kidney failure. Breath that doesn’t really associate with a certain smell but is still unpleasant may be an early sign of gum disease. Gum disease not only affects the mouth, but can increase the risk for heart disease too.

  • You Have Oral Cancer — That’s Also Serious

Oral cancer is characterized by unexplained bleeding, white or red patches in the mouth, or lumps on the lips, gums, or cheeks. Many times, your dentist is the first to notice anything suspicious and gets the process started for determining if it is in fact cancer, or something else. Although cancer is a really scary word, oral cancer treatment has a high success rate if caught in the early stages.

Like oral cancer, many oral diseases can be successfully treated if diagnosed early. So if you’re experiencing jaw pain, bleeding gums, or have patches of discoloration in your mouth, it’s important to see your dentist in Lewisburg as soon as possible.

If it’s time for your next dental cleaning and exam, give my Lewisburg dental office a call to schedule an appointment today.

Accepting patients from Lewisburg, Selinsgrove, Williamsport.