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“Mouth Jewelry-It’s Not As Simple As You Think!”
The ancient Aztecs,
Mayans, and tribes
of the American
Northwest pierced
their tongues
Religious ritual
performed by
shamen and
 Purpose: to
with the Gods
History cont.
Recent History
 Rise of
popularity in
the 1970’s
 Transition of
piercing into
 Piercing trends
glamorized in
the media
Newest Oral Fad……
Dental “Grillz”
Customized teeth caps
made of precious metals
and jewels
Cost for a full sethundreds to thousands of
Styles can be snapped
onto the teeth like an
orthodontic retainer
Others are permanently
bonded to the teeth
Made popular by rappers
such as Nelly
Tongue Splitting
The tongue is cut down
the middle, and is induced
to heal in that state,
leaving a forked tongue
Side effects can include
serious infection with
damage to speech and
taste, or worse, since
there are many blood
vessels in the tongue,
severe bleeding can cause
enough blood loss that a
person could die
Oral Piercing
Piercing is becoming a more
prevalent form of body art
and self-expression in today’s
Oral Piercing has been
implicated in a number of
adverse oral and systemic
 Cheek
 Frenum
 Lips
 Tongue
 Uvula
Lip Piercing
The lips aren't as
vascular as the tongue,
so there's probably less
chance of major
infection. But they're
even more likely to rub
the gum tissue away
from your tooth and
necessitate gum surgery
to avoid losing the tooth.
Gum surgery beats brain
surgery, but do you
really want either?
Common Piercing Problems
Common symptoms following
piercing and tongue splitting
include pain, swelling, infection
and increased salivary flow
Other problems include:
 gum tissue injury or
 damage to teeth and fillings
 interference with speech and
 scar-tissue formation
 development of metal
Bleeding and Swelling
The tongue contains large blood vessels,
and you're in trouble if one of them is
perforated. You could end up having to
have the vessel closed surgically in
Swelling is a common symptom
experienced after oral piercing. Since
the tongue is in constant motion it can
slow and complicate the healing process
Because your mouth contains millions of bacteria,
infection is a common complication of oral
Bacteria then cause the floor of the mouth to
rapidly swell, which can block the airway or
prevent the swallowing of saliva
Damage to Hard and Soft Tissues
Damage to teeth
Can damage
and fixed
Gum Recession
Damage to Hard and Soft
 Scar-tissue
 Keloids
form on
both the top and
bottom of tongue
More serious complications
Oral infections can lead to infections in
other parts of the body. Your mouth has
high levels of bacteria. When you puncture
any part of the oral cavity, this bacteria
may find its way into your bloodstream.
Bacteria can reach your heart and cause a
variety of health problems
This is called bacterial endocarditis
Bacterial Endocarditis
 Bacterial
endocarditis is an
infection of the heart's inner
lining (endocardium) or the heart
valves. This can damage or even
destroy your heart valves
 This
presents a risk for people
who have cardiac abnormalities
Bacterial Endocarditis
A person who develops bacterial endocarditis
can potentially die from heart complications
Brain Encephalitis
The picture on the right
was a girl who almost died
from a brain abscess
following a tongue piercing.
She had part of her skull
removed to relieve
pressure caused by the
infection. She can still feel
the soft spot where the
skull is missing
Hepatitis or HIV?
Unsterile instruments are
an easy way to spread
these and other
Policy of the American
Academy of Pediatric
Dentistry (AAPD)opposes the practice of
piercing intraoral and
perioral tissues
Impairs Normal Oral Functions
Oral jewelry can:
Impede the ability to pronounce words clearly
Cause problems with chewing
Cause problems with swallowing food
Stimulate excessive saliva production
Some metal alloys can cause allergic contact dermatitis
Interfere with the oral health evaluation:
Jewelry in the mouth can block the transmission
of X-rays so abnormalities like cysts,
or abscesses can be seen
National Institutes of Health has identified
piercing as possible route for transmission
of hepatitis
Do plastic barbells solve the
No. They reduce but don't
eliminate the trauma to
teeth and gums, and they
don't reduce the risk of