Last week I wrote about tongue hygiene. This week my assistant Erica suggested I write something about tongue rings. So here it is.
I won't get into the discussion on whether or not tongue rings are fashionable or sexy. I will approach this from a medical/dental perspective.
Three things immediately come to mind when I see tongue rings:
- Broken Teeth
- Gum Recession
We see this quite frequently. This occurs because the hard metal on the tongue ring constantly pounds on the teeth like a wrecking ball. The end result is very predictable. I recommend that a tongue ring never be worn. However, I know people will do what they please. So, if wearing a tongue ring is for you, at least have one that is made of a softer material that will make it less likely to break teeth.
|Teeth broken by a tongue ring|
The mouth has an incredible amount and variety of bacteria. Whenever a wound is created either accidentally or on purpose, we risk a potential infection. If the tongue is especially unclean, then an infection is much more likely to occur. I recommend you read last weeks blog--Tongue Hygiene.
There are two main concerns with an oral infection.
First, they can get out of control in a relatively short period of time. If allowed to progress, a person can become septic rather quickly. This is a life-threatening condition!
Secondly, when structures become infected, they enlarge. If too much tissue enlarges within the mouth and neck, then the airway will become obstructed. This is also a life-threatening condition! Many people have succumbed to infections that originated in the mouth.
|An infected pierced tongue|
This is commonly seen in patients with oral piercings. Most often you'll see the recession on the tongue side with tongue rings. The picture below isn't a tongue ring. The process nevertheless is still the same. The gums recede wherever the material makes contact.
|Gum recession caused by repeated trauma|
We all have different needs and priorities. If you value a tongue ring because it makes you feel more fashionable, sexy or something else, I will not tell you what to do. However, please understand what the risks are.
Dr. Cisneros maintains a practice in Freeburg and Columbia, IL. Both are in the Greater St Louis, MO area. For more information on a wide variety of subjects, please visit www.advanced-smiles.com.