Tongue piercing have been all the rage for a while now with a host of celebrities including Mel B and Royal Zara Phillips proudly showcasing them.
However before you even consider adopting such a fashion statement it is a good idea to make sure you are fully aware of the potential risks of tongue and lip piercings.
In the large majority of cases the only side-effects you will get will be a bit of soreness and swelling. However in some cases you could suffer the dire consequences of damaged teeth, excessive bleeding, infection and in rare cases death.
In 2010 a British care worker was killed by blood poisoning after having a Tongue Piercing to celebrate her 34th birthday.
During the investigation police and public health officials found ‘unhygienic practices’ at the piercing parlour where she had the procedure done could have been a contributing factor.
“It is a good idea to make sure you are fully aware of the potential risks of tongue and lip piercings”
What Does Tongue Piercing Involve?
The process of tongue piercing involves a needle being pushed through the midline of the tongue to insert a stud, hoop or a barbell. Usually it is done without anaesthetic.
Whilst the most common reactions to such a procedure is swelling and a little bit of pain there is a danger that if not done properly blood vessels can be severed during the process which can result in copious bleeding.
Furthermore despite the swelling of the tongue being expected there is a possibility that it can swell seriously enough to actually block off the airways altogether, which of course can become potentially fatal.
Furthermore if the administer of the tongue piercing is inexperienced there is a real possibility of nerve damage which could permanently inhibit feeling and movement in the tongue which eventually could result in permanent numbness, speech impediments and even loss of taste.
There is also a real possibility of infection if strict hygiene practice has not been followed as bacteria can penetrate the inner tissue of the tongue which is very vulnerable to infection.
Even if the above doesn’t happen there are some long term risks to tongue piercings. These include chipped or cracked teeth which might occur as a result of persistent rubbing of the metal object against teeth.
As a result tiny cracks can form and could lead to severe pain and fracture which could also leave the nerve exposed. Injuries to the gum and cheek tissue are not uncommon either.
Tongue Piercing Issues
If you are contemplating getting a tongue piercing outlined below is a guideline of what you can do to ensure you not only receive the correct procedure but also manage your oral health to ensure your mouth stays in a healthy state once your piercing is in place.
1. Ensure whether the person performing the procedure is experienced in administering piercings and also has high standards of infection control practices to protect against the risk of infection or lasting nerve damage.
2. Seek immediate medical advice if you encounter substantial bleeding, swelling, pain of infection immediately following the piercing.
3. Once the procedure has been completed visit your dentist on a regular 6 month cycle. As a trained and specialist oral care professional your dentist will be able to accurately monitor the piercing and any prospective damage it may be doing to your teeth and gums. Doing this will significantly decrease the likelihood of any long-term damage.
Worried About Tongue Piercing?
For more information about the potential risks of tongue piercing, or if you need to make an Emergency Appointment as a result of issues relating to your tongue piercing please call Sunshine Coast Smile Centre on 07 5443 2800.