Oral piercing and tongue jewelry place athletes at risk for serious medical and dental consequences.
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Oral piercing can cause pain, swelling, infection, drooling, taste loss, scarring, chipped teeth, and tooth loss. Most dentists discourage oral piercing due to the many risks involved. If you do decide to get an oral piercing it is important to understand the regulations, associated problems and proper maintenance.
Regulations on piercing vary from state to state, so it is important to be careful and find a professional who is prepared to answer any and all questions. They should use a fresh needle every time and sterilize all needles and instruments in an autoclave, which uses extreme heat to sanitize the instruments, to avoid serious infections such as HIV or Hepatitis. Also, make sure that they use the right kind of metal, such as surgical-grade stainless steel. Some people have allergic reactions to certain metals, which can lead to further complications.
What problems can the piercing cause?
Are there serious complications?
It takes three to four weeks for an oral piercing to heal. Unless complications occur, you will be able to remove the jewelry for short periods of time without the hole closing. Dentists suggest removing the jewelry to protect your teeth every time you eat or sleep. The piercer will place a larger, starter "barbell" in your tongue to give it enough room to heal when your tongue swells. If you decide to keep the piercing, after the swelling goes down, get a smaller barbell which will be less likely to get in the way of your teeth and more difficult for you to chew on.
Keep it clean
• Use an antiseptic mouthwash after every meal and brush the jewelry the same as you would your teeth.
• After your tongue has healed, take the piercing out every night and brush it to remove any unseen plaque.
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