Tongue Piercing-Weighing the Pros and Cons

by Dr. Enozia Vakil on  September 18, 2012 at 11:34 AM Health Watch   - G J E 4
A popular piercing fad in the Western world after nose and ear piercing, tongue piercing is now one of the season's must-haves. Before getting it done, it is important to consider a few facts so you'll be able to take a better decision regarding tongue piercing.
 Tongue Piercing-Weighing the Pros and Cons
Tongue Piercing-Weighing the Pros and Cons

Ancient illustrations depict pictures of the Aztecs and the Mayans having their tongue's pierced. Though the ancients used it as a method of pain infliction, God-honoring and other religious practices, today, it is a worldwide trend. Teenagers get their tongue pierced and clasp jewelry onto it-which is now gaining popularity, even in India.

The procedure: Tongue piercing is usually done right through the center of the tongue. While getting your tongue pierced, the piercer will check your tongue underside for large blood vessels and mark the place for the piercing. The tongue is then held with forceps and a pierced with a needle from bottom to the top. In cases when the tongue is pierced from top to bottom, a cannula needle is used.

The after-effects: You should expect pain and swelling for at least 2 days post-piercing. It is not unusual that the tongue will swell up to double its size after the piercing, and may cause problems while speaking or eating. It is thus recommended that after the piercing, one should suck on crushed ice, which helps reduce pain and inflammation. Ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs can also be taken, if the pain is unmanageable.

Post-piercing, it is advisable to avoid spicy food, alcohol and nicotine, and allow the tongue to heal.

The risk-factor: The International Dental Society has confirmed that tongue piercing can lead to a risk of damage to the teeth including chipped teeth, gum recession and even cutting of the tongue. If done improperly, the person may suffer from nerve damage, breathing difficulties, inability to swallow, paralysis of the tongue and infection. Using sterile equipment is highly important to reduce possible risks of HIV and other infections. In some instances, the ornament may come loose and may go down your throat causing lung or intestinal tears.

The stats: 14-41% of those having their tongues pierced reported dental fractures. Deadly brain abscesses affected around 2% people, whereas 19-68% of subjects reported recession of gingival tissue.


Source: Medindia

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