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Ask Our Las Vegas Dentists: Are tongue piercings safe?

by | Feb 7, 2024 | Oral health tips

Oral piercings, including those on the tongue, lips, cheeks, and frenula, have gained popularity as a form of self-expression. While they can be a trendy accessory, it’s essential to consider the potential risks associated with these procedures. Our Las Vegas dentists are here to give you the details on oral piercing safety. 

Before you alter the appearance of your smile, it is always best to talk to a trained dental professional, like the team at Miracle Dental in Las Vegas, NV. If you’re considering oral beauty trends, talk to Drs Ann Pham and Halan Tran first. Call (702) 456-0056 to schedule your consultation today.

There is evidence to suggest that roughly 26% of people with tongue piercings end up with lasting dental damage. Similarly, 44% of people with lip piercings experience significant gum recession. In this blog, our Las Vegas dentists delve into all of the safety concerns surrounding oral piercings.

Risks of Tongue Piercings

There are many kinds of tongue piercings, including venom and middle-tongue piercings. But no matter what kind of piercing you might want to get, they all carry a certain level of risk, including:


One of the primary risks associated with tongue piercings is infection. The oral cavity is a hotbed of bacteria, and introducing a foreign object increases the likelihood of bacterial invasion. 

Infections can lead to swelling, pain, and, in severe cases, sepsis (the spread of bacteria throughout the body).

Swelling and Bruising

Tongue piercings often result in immediate swelling and bruising. While these symptoms are usually temporary, excessive swelling can lead to complications, such as:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Trouble speaking
  • Difficulty eating and drinking

Damage to Teeth and Gums

Oral piercings, particularly those on the tongue, can cause long-term dental issues. Constant contact between the piercing and teeth may lead to chipped or cracked enamel, and repetitive movements can irritate and damage the gums. 

Risks of Lip, Cheek, and Frenulum Piercings

Just like tongue piercings, lip, cheek, and frenulum piercings pose a certain risk to teeth and gums, such as:

Infection and Abscess Formation

Similar to tongue piercings, lip, cheek, and frenulum piercings are susceptible to infection. The presence of a foreign object in these areas can create pockets of bacteria. These pockets can potentially lead to abscess formation, which is a localized infection that may require prompt medical attention with our Las Vegas dentists.

Nerve Damage

Piercing the lip, cheek, or frenulum involves navigating through delicate tissues that house numerous nerves. Accidental damage to these nerves during the piercing process can result in temporary or permanent numbness, altered sensation, or tingling in the affected area.

Oral Functionality

Speech impediments and difficulties with chewing and swallowing are common side effects of lip, cheek, and frenulum piercings. In some cases, the jewelry may interfere with the natural movements of the mouth, impacting oral hygiene practices and increasing the risk of food particles getting trapped around the piercing.

Protect Your Smile – Talk to Our Las Vegas Dentists Today

While oral piercings may be a fashionable form of self-expression, it’s crucial to weigh the risks associated with these procedures. Ultimately, the decision to pierce your tongue or any other oral area should be an informed one, taking into account both the aesthetic appeal and potential health risks. 

If you’d like to discuss oral alterations with our Las Vegas dentists, contact Miracle Dental online or at (702) 456-0056.