These days’ piercings and tattoos are quite popular, however, according to the American Dental Association there could be a connection between a pierced tongue and orthodontic problems.

People who have pierced tongues and wear a metal stud are not just risking their overall health, but taking a chance when it comes to orthodontic problems as well.

In a recent case study conducted by the Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, a 26-year old woman developed a space between her two front teeth, also known as diastema. This occurred over a period of seven years, as the tongue stud, shaped like a barbell, was constantly pushing up against her two front teeth. Photos that she had provided the researchers show that before the piercing, she did not have a space. The only solution to the problem was wearing a fixed brace long term.

Your dentist explains that the basic tenet when it comes to orthodontics is force, and over time, that force will eventually move your teeth, which is exactly what happened to the 26 year old woman who had been wearing the barbell in her tongue since she was 19.

The UB Dental School also studied several Buffalo New York High School students who wore a barbell or stud implant. The study indicated that this type of piercing could cause some series damage when the stud was constantly pushed between and against the two front teeth. This habit is commonly known among people who have studs in their tongues as, “Playing.” What’s even worse is that damage occurred to a high percentage of those involved in the research.

When someone has their tongue pierced, it is never removed as the tongue heals so quickly that when it is taken out the piercing closes almost immediately. Your dentist explains that it makes sense as patients constantly push the stud up against their teeth every day, which moves them and drives them apart.

Other risks that can occur from having your tongue pierced include swelling, pain, infection, and receding or injured gums. Studs and barbells can also chip your teeth or cause damage to your dental restorations making chewing and speaking difficult. People who wear tongue jewelry also run the risk of aspirating or swallowing the stud or barbell.

If you have a pierced tongue, schedule an appointment with your dentist who can help you understand what kind of damage you are doing to your teeth, gums and the rest of your body. 

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