A surprising number of people, particularly teenagers, express an interest in getting an oral piercing. The tongue, lips, and cheeks are all common piercing sites in the mouth. But how does such a piercing affect your oral health? The American Dental Association discourages oral piercings not only because of the physical pain they cause, but also because of the extensive healing time of open sores in the mouth. It can take weeks, and sometimes even months, for these wounds to heal, particularly for more complicated procedures like getting the tongue split into a fork.
These procedures can also be very dangerous, as there are lots of blood vessels in the mouth, and sensitive areas are prone to infection. Swelling, increased salivary production, scars, and speech interference are all possible following an oral piercing. Finally, the ADA has also expressed concerns about foreign objects in the mouth and their tendency to obstruct X-rays. This could be critical to a person’s health in the case of a misdiagnosis. However, even so, it is recognized that oral piercings are a common occurrence. If you are considering getting your tongue, lips, or cheeks pierced, talk to your dentist first. He or she may be able to discuss this topic in more depth and advise you on the best course of action.