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Holey Oral Anatomy

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The current form of self-expression has dentists worried. Piercing a lip, tongue, or uvula (hangs down from top jaw, in the back of one’s throat) is not a good idea. As I’ve mentioned before, the mouth is full of bacteria. Add to that the risk of picking up one of two forms of Hepatitis if the piercing instrument is not properly sterilized. Dentistry and hospital care only consider instruments “sterile” if they have been bagged and processed in a sterilizer for its entire cycle. They are not handled by anyone who is not wearing gloves. How does one know that a stranger has followed this protocol?

Another concern is that I can miss a cavity because the metal piercing blocks the radiation necessary to capture an image for a diagnostic x-ray.

Still another concern is the vast amount of blood vessels in the tongue. Pierce the wrong one and see how long the bleeding lasts. Perhaps a trip to the ER may be necessary. Unlike other wounds, one cannot apply pressure to the underside of the tongue and a bandage sure won’t adhere to a moist surface.

Occasionally, I hear about an allergic reaction to the metal on the piercing. It is much like the situation with pierced earrings, in that some people have tenderness, swelling, or itching if they wear non-gold posts even for a short length of time.

I’ve seen patients who have had an oral piercing when we conduct our first dental exam to determine their treatment plan and, at their 6-month recall, it no longer has jewelry attached to it. The thrill is gone but the hole remains.

Contact Winterset Dental to schedule your appointment.