Tongue Piercing — Harmless individual expression or oral health hazard?

tongue piercing
Dr. DeAndrade can repair tongue piercing damage


Damage Caused By Tongue Piercings

In the last several years, there has been a rise in popularity in body piercings, including for the tongue. Tongue piercing involves driving a hollow-pointed needle through the tongue and using it to attach a metal bar by pulling it back up through the hole and securing it with a metal screw-on-ball on each end.  Unlike piercings in other parts of the body, piercing the tongue can actually cause harm to your mouth and teeth.


One of the first hazards associated with tongue piercing is the risk of infection. There has been evidence of tetanus, tuberculosis and hepatitis being transmitted through piercing parlors, and the new holes are also susceptible to infection from the bacteria that already exist in your mouth. Other risks from the procedure include blood clots, blood poisoning, brain abscess, chronic pain, nerve damage, fractured/cracked teeth, heart infections, periodontal disease, gum recession, speech impediment and scarring.


At Anthem Periodontics, we have seen a rise in patients with complications related to tongue piercings, and we are happy to be able to offer the following treatment options to repair the damage related to this procedure:


  • Tooth implants to replace fractured teeth
  • Infection control
  • Treatment of periodontitis
  • Periodontal plastic surgery


Even if you have not noticed any detrimental effects to your oral health from your tongue piercing yet, it’s just a matter of time before they appear. For the best outcome, Dr. DeAndrade recommends permanently removing the piercing and scheduling a full dental evaluation to assess any damage or infection it may have caused to your mouth. The greatest individual expression anyone can have is their smile, and it’s not worth losing over a little piece of jewelry.