Tongue Piercings Causing Major Dental Problems
April 11, 2006
A 20-year-old woman experienced problems with a tongue piercing when a ball of tissue began growing on her tongue next to her barbell stud. Within a few months, the growth had swollen to the size of a marble.
The growth was what is known as a hypertrophic-keloid lesion. It occurred because the woman's tongue stud, about an inch long, had become covered in plaque, and was pumping bacteria into the tongue whenever it moved up or down.
The woman eventually replaced the tongue stud with a shorter one, and began using an anti-bacterial mouthwash. However, she was left with permanent scar tissue about the size of a large pea.
Tongue piercings can also cause tooth chipping and breakage, and can lead gums to recede due to rubbing and irritation. A survey of university students found that slightly more than one in 10 have a tongue piercing.