You want to get a tongue piercing and all you hear from your parents is "No!" But your friends think it would be really cool. Who do you listen to?
The piercing technician tells you that complications with piercing your tongue are extremely rare, but are they telling you that because piercing is their livelihood? When you are getting the piercing there may not be a complication, not until you walk out that door with the very foreign object stuck in the middle of your tongue.
Here are seven life-changing reasons not to get a tongue piercing:
- Chipped or broken teeth. The jewelry placed in your mouth is very likely to chip or break a tooth, which will require a filling or a crown to repair it. This will happen again and again from either wearing down the filling or crown or from breaking it repeatedly.
- Gum surgery. Your gums can start to recede from the constant rubbing of the jewelry. This especially happens with lip rings. You will have to be referred to the periodontist for surgery to correct this constant rubbing or lose that tooth.
- Swallowing/inhalation. The jewelry can come undone and get stuck in your lungs. If you are lucky and it is just the ball, it may have the chance of passing through, but if it is the longer portion this could get lodged or tear internally causing major health risks for you.
- Infection. The tongue is a very moist part of the body full of bacteria with major blood vessels that can quickly spread infection to the body. One type of disease is endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart valve or tissue, to correct would require surgery. Brain abscesses have been also related to tongue piercing, specifically Ludwig angina, an infection in the neck and muscles that, if not caught early, can choke a person to death.
- Loss of Blood. The tongue contains large blood vessels, if one gets perforated it can only be closed with surgery, not the piercing technician. When the piercing occurs, the technician can hit a nerve which can cause either swelling of the tongue or for you to not be able to use your tongue properly.
- Hepatitis or HIV. Using unsterile instruments spreads infection directly to you.
- Speech impediments. Having the jewelry through your tongue causes you to produce excess saliva, so when you are talking you are spitting on people which could result in spreading of disease. In many professions, (hospitals restaurants) it is not allowed because of the spitting issue. It also makes chewing and swallowing food that more difficult.
Much like an ear piercing, if you take the post out there is still scar tissue, so the skin never heals completely. Food and bacteria will always get stuck in the hole, resulting in you constantly being vigilant about the care and cleaning of your tongue and mouth.
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