Monday, September 28, 2009

Tongue Studs & Lip Rings

Oral piercings are becoming more and more popular with young adults and teenagers. They're a fashion statement and they're very distinctive! Are you thinking of getting one? It's important to consider the risks and benefits. The benefits are they look cool and unique!

Now, familiarize yourself with the risks (and how to avoid potential problems):

First, for the person who's going to be doing the piercing: How do they clean their instruments? Are they autoclaved, and cleaned with a disinfectant (glutaraldehyde)? Are they wearing masks and gloves? Are sterile needles used? What is there plan in case of an emergency during the procedure?

Second, know the complications and possible adverse effects of the piercing procedure: Pain (duhh!), swelling (tongue swelling may require anti-inflammatory agents to control, to prevent your airway from being blocked), prolonged bleeding (if a blood vessel is cut), nerve damage, high risk of infection (mouths are filled with germs!) and a risk of endocarditis in people with certain heart problems.

Third, keep in mind that the stud or ring itself can produce adverse effects and possible trauma: An increase in saliva, difficulty in pronouncing words, aspiration (breathing the stud/ring into your lungs if it comes loose), chipping teeth and gingival recession (where the gums pull away from your teeth). According to a review of the research literature, 'Jewelry-related complications mainly consisted of tooth fractures and wear (14%-41%) and gingival recessions (19%-68%).' Also, the stud or ring itself will become a haven for bacterial plaque, so keep it clean (remove and wash it with soap whenever you brush and floss your teeth!).

Check out these links if you’d like more information about tongue and lip piercings, and their possible side-effects:

Oral Piercings
Oral Piercing and Health
Tongue Piercing - Case Report and Review of Current Practice

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