Not too long ago, teens wanted to avoid the moniker metal mouth, but the oral piercing trend seems to have overshadowed that social fear. Now piercing the tongue, lip or cheeks is a fairly popular form of self-expression. People interested in this trend, however, should be aware that it is not without health risks.
Injury to the gums. Not only can the metal jewelry injure the gums but also if it is placed so that it makes constant contact with the gums, it causes the soft tissues to recede.
Damage to the teeth. Contact with the jewelry can chip or crack teeth. Likewise, teeth that have restorations can be damaged if jewelry strikes them.
Interference with normal oral function. Oral jewelry can stimulate excessive saliva production, can impede the ability to pronounce words clearly and may cause problems with chewing and swallowing food. Furthermore, metal alloys used in the manufacturing of oral jewelry can potentially sensitise susceptible people resulting in allergic contact dermatitis.
Interference with oral health evaluation. Jewelry in the mouth can block the transmission of x-rays. Clear radiographs, what you know as x-rays, are essential to a complete oral health evaluation. Jewelry can prevent a radiograph from revealing abnormalities like cysts, abscesses or tumours.
Aspiration. There is always a possibility that the jewelry can come loose. As with any loose object in the mouth, unfastened jewelry becomes a choking hazard. The jewelry also could be ingested which could result in injury to the digestive tract.
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