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My teen wants a tongue piercing, is it safe?

My teen wants a tongue piercing, is it safe?

Teens love to express their individuality through their appearance, which is why oral piercings are becoming increasingly popular with teens. But is tongue, lip or cheek piercing actually safe?  Here our Burnaby children's dentist explains some of the risks involved in oral piercings. 

Teens are always looking for new ways to express their individuality. That said, some teen style trends are riskier than others.

Recently there has been surge in the number of teens getting tongue piercings. While they may feel that these piercings look 'cool' they also come with a number of health risks.

Cracking & Chipping

When talking or eating with a new oral piercing in, it's common for the tongue jewellery to bump against the teeth. This can lead to chipped enamel exposing the sensitive layers of the inner tooth.

Teens often develop the habit of biting or playing with the piercing which may injure gums or lead to cracked, scratched or sensitive teeth in need of treatment.

Tooth Movement

Jewellery for oral piercings, including barbells and rings, are rarely removed due to fear of the piercing quickly healing over. This means that constant pressure is placed on the backs of teeth by the oral jewellery.

Over time this pressure can cause the teeth to become loose or even move, causing new gaps to appear, a condition is called diastema.

That said, it's important to note that diastema can develop with or without the presence of oral jewellery.


The mouth is a moist environment filled with bacteria. Infections at the site of the piercing are not uncommon. 

Dental Appointment Difficulties

Oral piercings can make dental appointments more difficult.  Oral jewellery can interfere with x-rays, showing the piercing as a white object and interfering with any visible diagnosis.

It's a good idea to remove oral piercings before visiting the dentist.

If you have questions about the safety of oral piercings, contact our Burnaby children's dentist. 

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