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Tongue piercings can be an exciting way of expressing one’s self, but most dentists – as well as the American Dental Association – discourage doing so. According to the ADA, tongue piercings can pose a serious threat to a child or teen's health, especially if part of the tongue jewelry breaks off and becomes lodged in the airway. Aside from being a choking hazard, intraoral and perioral piercings come with significant health risks. Tongue piercings can cause significant damage to the surrounding teeth from biting down on the piercing. Painful infections and permanent nerve damage are not uncommon. In more serious cases, oral piercings can be the source of life-threatening conditions, such as hepatitis or endocarditis.
The American Dental Association opposes intraoral piercings, and this is especially true for children under age 18. But if a piercing is inevitable, ensure that the procedure is performed in a sterile environment by a trained professional. Never allow your child to pierce his or her own tongue, or to allow a friend to do it.
Tongue piercing are generally performed without anesthetic. Your child's tongue will be pierced in the center, where a barbell will be placed and capped at both ends. The tongue will swell significantly and will remain swollen for about two weeks. Once the swelling goes down, the barbell can be replaced by a shorter one that poses less of a threat to surrounding teeth.
Absolutely. Ensure that your child recognizes that a tongue piercing is a life-long commitment. It requires responsibility to keep the piercing site clean and free of debris that could cause infection. He or she will also need to practice hygienic handling practices and commit to visiting Brent j. Porter, D.D.S., your Santa Cruz Pediatric Dentist on a regular basis to maintain optimal oral health especially in the area of the piercing site.
For more information please contact the office of Brent J. Porter D.D.S., Santa Cruz Pediatric Dentist (831) 459-9802