Tongue piercing is becoming more common. Like other forms of body piercing, it carries serious risks during the procedure itself. These include the risk of local or systemic infection. Local infection can occur because the mouth is hard to sterilize and many places that pierce tongues do not always maintain a sterile environment.
Systemic infection is always a possibility and includes the risk of hepatitis and AIDS. The rinsing with mouthwash may not take care of an infection if it is serious. It is important to remember that piercing establishments are not regulated by law nor are the operators licensed. The operator’s experience and competence can vary and are not guaranteed. Like other forms of body piercing, tongue piercing also can result in an allergy if the metals used are not of the highest quality. Many times, the stated price of the piercing does not include the jewelry to be placed.
Unlike other forms of piercing, the tongue also caries the increased risk of bleeding problems. The tongue has major blood vessels within it and many operators are not aware of this. The jewelry may also be swallowed if loosened and result in choking.
In addition, unlike other forms of body piercing, tongue piercing also caries the risk of damage to the surrounding teeth. The hard jewelry can chip and break the enamel or fillings of the teeth as one talks and eats. This damage can also result in the death of the tooth’s inner pulp if the trauma to the tooth is chronic. This tooth damage may result in the need for expensive crowns to restore a smile or even a root canal to keep the tooth. These are important matters to consider before undergoing tongue piercing. If there is a problem after tongue piercing, it is important not only to contact the piercing establishment, but your physician and dentist as needed. Your smile and your health are important in the long run!