Dental Health and Oral Piercing
If you have decided to go through with the oral piercing procedure despite these risks, consider the following tips when looking for an oral piercing studio.
- Ask friends who have had their tongue, lips, or cheeks pierced -- and have suffered no ill consequences -- to recommend the name of the studio they visited.
- Visit the studio. Does the studio have a clean appearance, especially the area where the piercing is done? Ask if they use hospital-grade autoclaves for sterilization and/or use disposable instruments. Does the staff use disposable gloves?
- Ask to see the studio's health certificates.
- Are all the needles, as well as the studs, hoops, and barbells, kept in sterilized packaging?
- Are all staff members involved in the piercings vaccinated against hepatitis B? They should be.
If the staff is not friendly or willing to answer all of your questions, consider finding another piercing studio.
Caring for Your Oral Piercing at Home
A pierced tongue can take four to six weeks to heal. Pierced lips take between one and two months to heal. During this healing period, here's what you should do:
- Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and hard and sticky foods.
- Don't smoke or use tobacco-based products.
- Brush after every meal and rinse with a mouthwash, such as Listerine.
- Rinse your mouth frequently with warm salt water.
- Eat soft foods. Consult with your dentist about taking vitamins to promote faster healing.
- Make an appointment with your dentist if you suspect a problem or have a concern. It is critical for dentists to check your teeth, gums, tongue, and soft tissues for early signs of any problems.
Warning Signs After an Oral Piercing
If you notice any of the following warning signs after getting an oral piercing, contact a health care professional right away:
- Yellow or green discharge from the piercing site (Note: A whitish or clear discharge is normal)
- Scarring or thickened tissue that builds up and darkens around the piercing site
- Increased redness, pain and tenderness, or swelling at the piercing site
- A pimple-like abscess on the piercing site
- Bleeding or tearing after the initial healing of the piercing
- A low-grade fever that is persistent in the days following piercing