What are the risks posed by mouth-piercing?

The primary concern associated with mouth-piercing is the risk of infection. Any of these diseases may be contracted during the procedure:

  • HIV
  • Hepatitis B, C, D and G
  • Blood-borne diseases

In addition, you have an increase risk of getting endocarditis, a potentially life-threatening disease affecting the heart, during the procedure.

Aside from the risk of infection, the procedure itself may cause trauma to the site, causing blood clots, prolonged bleeding, nerve damage and tissue swelling. The most serious immediate complication associated with mouth piercings occurs if the tongue swelling becomes very severe so as to cut off your breathing. This may happen when the piercing site becomes infected.

The jewelry itself may also pose problems with regard to oral health since it interferes with normal oral functions. It may cause injury to the gums and teeth, which increases your risk for gum and tooth decay. If you have had any work done on your teeth, jewelry can cause cracked teeth and damage fillings, crowns and orthodontics.

What should I know before getting an oral piercing?

If you have to get a mouth piercing, it is better to let a professional do it. Make sure that they use a fresh needle every time and sterilize all instruments in an autoclave to avoid the more serious infections. Also, make sure that they use the right kind of metal for your jewelry. Some people are allergic to certain kinds of metals, including nickel, which may cause further complications.

How do I maintain my piercing?

It may take up to a month for the mouth piercing to heal. It is recommended that the jewelry be removed for short periods of time without the hole closing. It is also best to remove the jewelry during eating and sleeping. Make sure also to clean your jewelry. Here are some steps to keeping your jewelry clean:

  • Use an antiseptic mouthwash after every meal
  • Brush the jewelry the same as you would your teeth
  • Remove the piercing every night and clean it to remove plaque