In recent years there has been an increase in people expressing their individuality through distinctive body art. Some people have changed their hair or eye color, others have tattoos, and other people are a little more adventurous. We want you to be aware that tongue splitting and piercings in and around the mouth can cause serious short and long term complications.
In addition to the pain and swelling that occurs immediately after the piercing or splitting, there are other potential long-lasting effects. According to the American Dental Association, case studies have shown that there can be problems with salivary flow, with damage to the teeth, with receding gums, and with scar tissue formation.
Because the tongue has so many blood vessels and nerves, there can be issues with prolonged bleeding or difficulty in moving the tongue after a piercing or splitting. Swelling of the tongue after piercing can actually block the airway and cause difficulty in breathing. This can even become life-threatening. But even after healing, the problems with mobility or with scar tissue formation can cause difficulty in speaking clearly and with pressure on the teeth. This pressure either results in teeth shifting or with cracks in the enamel.
Tongue jewelry can result in fractured teeth, and the many tiny scratches in the enamel from the jewelry provide an opening for bacteria and decay. This is why there is an increase in the need for fillings or crowns. The jewelry also can cause issues with chewing and speaking. And finally, piercings have been linked to serious blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis, endocarditis, and cellulitis.
At Library Park Dental we encourage you to express your individuality in a wide variety of ways. Oral piercing and tongue splitting is not recommended. If you do have an oral piercing, make sure to come in for a check-up at least twice per year so that we can keep a close eye on your piercing site and the teeth surrounding it.