Q. My boyfriend thinks it would be neat if I got my tongue pierced. What can you tell me about this? I am a little concerned about whether it would be safe. I do have pierced ears and have not had any trouble with that.
A. In four words, PLEASE DON”T DO IT! I have seen numerous cases in our dental office, which have resulted in all sorts of problems.
To begin with, the tongue is an extremely vascular organ, which means that it has an extensive blood system. A tremendous amount of swelling is expected when the tongue is pierced and a large oversized “barbell” is initially placed to accommodate for the expected swelling. Often there is infection in the tongue after the piercing, and uncontrollable bleeding.
The piercing can cause difficulty in breathing and swallowing, eating, drinking and speaking. The large barbell flops around and has caused fractures of teeth when accidentally bitten. The barbell can come unscrewed and be swallowed or possibly be aspirated, sucked into the lung. Either of these could require surgery.
PLEASE DON’T DO IT!