Your Tongue Piercing Could Kill You, Cautions IDA

Tongue and Lip Jewelry Provides Avenue for Potentially Deadly Infections

The Irish Dental Association (IDA) warns that lip and tongue piercings can lead to serious health problems, potentially even death. With no regulations governing body piercings, young people getting pierced run the risk of contracting hepatitis or other blood-borne diseases from Lip Piercing unhygienic piercing needles. The risk is especially high for people with heart murmurs, as the piercing provides an avenue for bacteria to enter the bloodstream , which could possibly lead to infective endocarditis, a potentially fatal heart condition.

Additionally, oral piercings can lead to dental problems. Though a pierced tongue or a lip piercing may appeal to a young person, they should realize the risks: infections can occur, gums can recede, and the metal jewelry can abrade the tooth enamel, even chipping or cracking the tooth. “If you get an oral piercing, you must accept that you will damage your oral health, and, in many cases, what damage you do will be irreversible,” cautions Dr. Kevin O’Boyle of the IDA. (That’s the Irish Dental Association, not the dental marketing company Internet Dental Alliance.)

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Tongue Piercing Can Lead to Crooked Teeth, Warn Dentists

Tongue piercings can damage teethIt turns out that tongue piercings can be bad for one’s teeth. While this is hardly a surprise to any dentist, it’s been confirmed by a recent study from New York’s University of Buffalo.

Researchers had previously found that teens with pierced tongues tend to “play” with the barbell-shaped piercing, often pushing the end of the stud against their front teeth — a habit that might leave them needing braces to fix the damage.

In this particular case study, a young woman who had had her tongue pieced for seven years developed a gap between her front teeth from pushing the barbell into the space between the teeth.

It’s already known that a tongue piercing can increase the risks of chipping or cracking teeth, wearing down tooth enamel, receding gums and more — now it’s time to add orthodontic damage to the list.

Read more: Tongue piercings could be a dental nightmare

Dental Practice Management: Would You Hire Staff With Facial Piercings?

What's your dental management policy on oral piercings?These days, facial and oral piercings are commonly accepted among many young people in North America. Does this kind of personal adornment represent a dental management dilemma when it comes to hiring good associates, hygienists and front desk personnel?

The Wealthy Dentist wanted to know, so we asked this survey question:

Do any members of your dental team have facial piercings?

A 79% majority of dentists responding to our survey answered No, definitely not!

Some dentists responded based on health and personal preference:

“It’s enough to have piercings on ears – the face, lip, mouth are really stretching it, both from a visual standpoint and a health perspective (oral piercings have been shown to damage teeth and supporting tissues).” New Hampshire dentist

“UGLY! Especially the damage and infections caused.” General dentist

“I put up with tattoos. That’s enough!” District of Columbia dentist

Some dentists look at it from a business standpoint:

“Not the professional image I want to project.” Illinois dentist

“I do not believe it represents my practice. Save it for tatoo shop or Barnes and Noble. Attire and dress code is outlined in manual.” Illinois dentist

Despite these observations, 21% of our respondents said they had a team member with a pierced nose, tongue, lip or tongue. (Nobody reported pierced eyebrows on their staff members — but that’s a possibility, too.)

It’s cultural so I don’t mind,” answered a Sri Lankan dental implantologist who has a team member with a a pierced nose. “But definitely not any other piercing,” he added.

“Depends on the size of the jewelry. Tasteful facial piercings are acceptable. Oral piercings are acceptable for employees as far as hiring them, but we do not recommend for dental reasons.” California dentist

Another dentist, who reports staff having tongue and lip piercings, handles it in a very conservative manner: “My staff is NOT entitled to wear their piercings while they are on the clock.”

Here are the takeaways from our dentist survey:

  • You’re entitled to set your own dental practice management policy about facial piercings, but it pays to be aware of what’s culturally acceptable in your market.
  • When it comes to hiring, you also have the option to ask potential candidates to remove the jewelry while at work. That way, you don’t have to exclude someone who might otherwise be a stellar addition to your dental team!

Do you see any facial or oral piercings in your dental team’s future?


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