March 21, 2008, Newsletter Issue #109: Tongue Piercing: Proper Jewelry and Sizing

Tip of the Week

In order to reduce the risks associated with oral piercing and possible structural damage it is important to use the appropriate size of jewelry. Complications can arise if the jewelry is inappropriately sized, not placed properly, or poorly manufactured.

Here are some things to consider before a tongue piercing:

Select the correct style of jewelry for the particular anatomy and determine proper placement.

Be sure the jewelry is accurately sized to the area. Longer jewelry is used initially to allow for usual swelling should be replaced with a shorter piece after swelling has dissipated. The shorter piece has less chance of harmfully impacting the teeth and other oral structures.

Use only surgical implant grade jewelry- See accepted APP Minimum Jewelry Standards for a detailed list of jewelry material and design specifications.

Acrylic balls can be worn on tongue barbells to minimize the risk of damage to the teeth.

Check that the threaded ends are on securely. Tighten them each day so that the jewelry stays in place.

Smaller balls should be worn on the underside of the tongue to reduce contact with the sublingual portion of the oral cavity.

Piercees should be aware and strongly cautioned that excessively touching and playing with the jewelry is frequently the cause of reported tooth and gum damage. Therefore it should be avoided.

Follow aftercare instructions everyday. Oral piercing is more prone to infection and the damage could be permanent.

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