My daughter is getting her tongue pierced. What are the risks?

2014.09.29

Our 19 yr old daughter is getting her tongue pierced in 2 weeks. She doesn’t live at home, but we see her several times a week. We are still very close. When she was visiting over the weekend, she let us know that she is getting her tongue pierced. I asked her if she knew about the risks. Her reply was that 3 or 4 of her friends have done it with no problems. She agreed to talk with me about it again before she does it. I am not going to try to stop her, but I want to know some facts that I can share with her so that she can at least take some precautions. I would like to know for myself too so that I can be aware if things don’t go well. What are the risks? Thanks. Dana

Dana – We understand your concern. We will share some of the risks with you. As with any type of puncture or wound, a tongue piercing can cause swelling, pain, and infection.

Saliva flow will increase. The tongue ornament can cause damage to the gums, teeth, or dental restorations. Sensitivity to metal can also occur. If vessels in the tongue are pierced during the procedure, prolonged bleeding can occur.

If the jewelry is mistakenly swallowed, damage to respiratory or digestive organs can occur. Bacteria can collect on the jewelry and cause secondary infection.

You can also suggest that your daughter speak with her dentist regarding what she should consider before piercing her tongue, as well as what she can expect afterward.

This post is sponsored by Lowell cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.

Afraid of the dentist and even sedation dentistry scares me

2014.09.12

I have probably heard one report too many about a patient having trouble waking up after sedation at the dentist’s office. I am already afraid of the dentist and have been thinking that I need sedation, but I am really scared. I’m determined not to let the bad reports keep me away from the dentist but I do need more information on sedation dentistry. Can you tell me what I can do to ensure that it’s as safe as possible for me? Thanks. – Chad

Chad – Your concern is understandable. Many, many sedation dentists have used this treatment on patients for years without incident.

We recommend that you find a dentist with a lot of experience in sedation dentistry. Ask your dentist about the training and experience he or she has with sedation. You can also ask for an estimate of how many patients the dentist has treated with sedation.

A sedation dentist needs to know your medical history and have a list of any medications you are taking. Providing this information and answering questions about use of alcohol or recreational drugs will ensure that your sedation is properly administered.

Ask your sedation dentist what you can expect before and during your dental treatment. You should be given information about the types of sedation available, how much is administered, and how it is administered. Ask about the emergency plan in the rare event that an emergency does occur. You will want to know what to expect when your dental treatment is over.

A sedation dentist understands anxiety and fear about dental appointments. Your concern should be met with understanding and thorough responses. If you find it otherwise, find another dentist with whom you are comfortable for sedation. You can even request a brief consultation with a few sedation dentists to help you feel comfortable with your choice.

This post is sponsored by Lowell, MA dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.