Tongue Piercing

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.

Did you know…

that there are many risks involved with oral piercings, including chipped or cracked teeth, blood clots, blood poisoning, heart infections, brain abscess, nerve disorders (trigeminal neuralgia), receding gums or scar tissue. Your mouth contains millions of bacteria, and infection is a common complication of oral piercing. Your tongue could swell large enough to close off your airway!

Common symptoms after piercing include pain, swelling, infection, an increased flow of saliva and injuries to gum tissue. Difficult-to-control bleeding or nerve damage can result if a blood vessel or nerve bundle is in the path of the needle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I let my child pierce his or her tongue?

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.

Are there any special instructions my child will need to follow after having his or her tongue pierced?

Absolutely. Ensure that your child recognizes that a tongue piercing is a 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 the dentist on a regular basis to maintain optimal oral health.