Saturday, April 16, 2011

Oral Piercings and Dental Health

Oral piercings have become quite common. In my San Francisco dental practice, I have seen patients with barbells and hoops, in their lips, tongues, cheeks and even frenum. Because of the unique features of the oral environment, these locations require special attention. Unlike other body piercings, oral piercings are under continual stress from bacteria in the mouth, contamination from food and drinks, irritation from chewing and hitting against teeth.

Piercings are made from a wide selection of materials, including gold, stainless steel, titanium, plastics, and nickel. Titanium and plastics are the most body friendly, while nickel may cause allergic reactions and steel may damage teeth.

Complications from oral piercings include injury and recession of gums, chipping and cracking of teeth and restorations (such as crowns and veneers), as well as infections from food impaction in the piercing site. A tongue piercing can act as a ‘wrecking ball’ and fracture teeth, particularly the front incisors.

Caring for oral piercings includes using antiseptic, alcohol-free mouthwash in additional to regular brushing and flossing of teeth.

For additional questions please contact Dr. Josh Berd at
Learn more about Dr. Berd at

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