Oral piercings, usually in the tongue or around the lips have quickly become a popular trend in today’s society. With this popular trend, it is important to realize that sometimes even precautions taken during the installation of the piercing jewelry are not enough to prevent harmful, long-term consequences such as cracked or chipped teeth, swelling, problems with swallowing and taste, and scars. There is also a possibility of choking on a piece of dislodged jewelry, which makes it important to ask if the risks are warranted.
One of the most serious long-term health problems that may occur from oral piercings come in the form of damage to the soft tissues such as the cheeks, gums and palate, as well as some kind of infections. When performed in an unsterile environment, any kind of body piercing may also put you at risk of contracting deadly infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. A tongue piercing is a common form of body piercing. However, tongue piercings have been known to cause blocked airways (from a swollen tongue). In some cases, a tongue piercing can cause uncontrolled bleeding.
People with oral piercings — especially long-stem tongue jewelry – have a greater risk of gum disease than those without oral piercings. The jewelry can come into contact with gum tissue causing injury as well as a recession of the gum tissue, which can lead to loose teeth and tooth loss.
Caring for your Oral Piercing
Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and hard and sticky foods.
Don’t smoke or use tobacco-based products.
Eat soft foods. Consult with your dentist about taking vitamins to promote faster healing.
If you notice any warning signs such as scarring, increased redness or pain at piercing site, bleeding or tearing after initial healing, yellow or green discharge from piercing site etc, contact a health care professional.
Cavities, also known as tooth decay, occur when plaque, the sticky substance that forms on teeth, combines with the sugars and / or starches of the foods that we eat. This combination produces acids that attack tooth enamel.
Follow these dental hygiene practices to prevent cavities:
Brush your teeth – In the fight against cavities, it is essential that you brush your teeth properly at least twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride.
Floss daily – Food debris gets caught in between our teeth when we eat. If the debris is not removed, it can lead to cavities. Flossing every day is the best way to remove food debris from in between the teeth.
Eat healthy – Proper nutrition plays an important role in good dental health. Eating nutritional snacks and limiting the amount of sugar intake will help to prevent plaque from forming on the teeth.
Have sealants placed – Dental sealants are a protective coating that is applied to the biting surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant protects the tooth from getting a cavity by shielding against bacteria and plaque. Sealants are more common in children because of the new growth of permanent teeth; however, sealants can benefit adults too.
Use a mouthwash – There are several antimicrobial mouthwashes on the market that have been clinically proven to reduce plaque. Rinsing with one of these mouthwashes after brushing or eating can aid in cavity prevention.
Chew sugarless gum – Believe it or not, chewing certain sugarless gums can actually help to prevent cavities by increasing the flow of saliva in your mouth.
It is especially important to keep an eye on how often your child eats as well as what he/she eats. You should limit between-meal snacks to reduce the number of acid attacks on teeth and to give teeth a chance to repair themselves. Limit their intake of candies, cookies, soda and other sugary drinks. Make sure your child doesn’t eat or drink anything with sugar after bedtime tooth brushing. Don’t forget to supervise young children when they brush. Since most cavities in children and adolescents develop in the molars, it’s best to get these teeth sealed as soon as they come in.
There are several reasons that you want to replace a missing tooth or teeth. A tooth has many functions, some being to chew, to speak, to keep the facial muscles and tissue in a proper position, to smile, and to keep the other teeth from shifting. Once a tooth is lost this whole balance is disrupted and it may lead to many problems.
Conventional fixed bridge – The conventional fixed bridge is a tooth replacement that is attached with cement to the adjacent natural teeth. If you have one or two missing teeth on a single side this can be a good method of replacement. If the two teeth adjacent to the space are healthy and the supporting structure (bone and gum tissue) are adequate a fixed bridge can be placed.
Removable partial or full denture – A partial or full removable denture is a set of artificial teeth that are not fixed permanently to natural teeth. This set consists of usually plastic teeth set in an artificial plastic or plastic and metal framework that rests on the gum tissue. A partial denture is used for people who have multiple spaces on one or both sides or whose teeth are not strong enough to support a fixed bridge. A complete denture is just that, it replaces all the teeth on either the top or bottom jaw. The full denture can be the most difficult restoration to get accustomed to.
Implants – Implants are used to replace a single tooth, many teeth on one side, or used to support an entire fixed or removable bridge replacing all the upper or lower teeth. The implant is placed in a hole which is drilled into the patient’s lower or upper jaw. Depending on the number of teeth being replaced, one or more implants are placed in the bone. If necessary a substructure is fabricated and then a crown, bridge or denture is securely fastened to the substructure or implant. Implants are useful for patients that have tried but can’t wear conventional dentures.
Flipper – This is probably the cheapest option to restore missing teeth, however it should be seen as a temporary solution. The expected longevity of a flipper should only be a few months, though with meticulous care and minimal use with chewing, it could last a bit longer. Flippers are similar to removable partial dentures, except they are made from weaker materials.
There are other methods such as using a combination of crowns and partial dentures that can keep the retaining clips out of sight. From the available options, the most appropriate treatment will depend on various factors including the number of teeth missing; therefore it is advisable to consult your dentist about the right solution for you.
Fillings are materials used to fill cavities in the teeth. Sometimes fillings fall out. In some cases, a filling may come loose because there is decay underneath it. The decay destroys part of the tooth, so it no longer has a tight hold on the filling.
If you realize your filling has come out when it has happened and you haven’t already swallowed it, you should remove it from your mouth to prevent yourself from swallowing it.
You should call your dentist as soon as you lose your filling to schedule an appointment as soon as possible to replace the filling or perform whatever treatment is necessary.
If you are not able to get to your dentist that day to have it refilled, you will need to keep that area of your tooth really clean. The cavity that was filled is now exposed again and could worsen or feel really sensitive. Brush your teeth carefully making sure to remove any food debris from the cavity so that harmful bacteria do not accumulate.
Your tooth may be sensitive after you lose your filing. This may be caused by exposed dentin tubules, which are tiny pathways of communication between the dentin and the pulp of your tooth. The dentin tubules provide a direct pathway from the inside of your mouth to your tooth. If you do feel pain, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Make sure you get an appointment to see your Dentist
A toothache is a common reason for visiting the dentist. Pain from toothaches can affect the teeth and jaws.
Brush and floss your teeth to remove food fragments on and in-between your teeth. Rinse with warm water.
You may take painkillers for the pain, but DO NOT put an aspirin or any other painkiller directly against the gums near the aching tooth. This can burn and cause damage to the gum tissue. If the pain persists, call to see a dentist as soon as possible.
Avoid very cold or hot foods as they may make the pain worse.
Relief may be obtained by biting on some cotton wool soaked in oil of cloves. Oil of cloves is available at most pharmacies.
It is important to know that persistent toothache pain may temporarily subside, but will usually return until the underlying problem has been addressed. Failure to treat these problems in a timely manner may lead to further deterioration and more costly treatment.
Treatment for a toothache depends on the cause. If a cavity is causing the toothache, your dentist will fill the cavity or possibly extract the tooth, if necessary. A root canal might need to be done if the cause of a toothache is found to be an infection of the tooth’s nerve. Bacteria that have worked their way into the inner aspects of the tooth cause such an infection. An antibiotic may be prescribed.
See your dentist as soon as possible if a toothache lasts longer than 1 or 2 days or if it is severe. Proper identification and treatment of dental infections are important to prevent its spread to other parts of the face and skull and possibly even to the bloodstream.