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Signs of an Infected Oral Piercing

Posted on 5/20/2017 by Scott Redlinger
A woman with a tongue piercing.
There are many ways to express yourself. One such way that many people choose to do so is through piercings, including oral piercings. Oral piercings can lead to significant issues, such as damage to your teeth, gum recession and broken dental restorations.

They are also at an increased risk for developing infections, due to the amount of bacteria present in the mouth. Here are some signs to watch out for that can indicate an infection.

Some swelling following an oral piercing is normal, but it should subside after 6 to 8 weeks. If, after 8 weeks, the swelling continues or gets worse, or is accompanied by difficulty speaking and swallowing, you more than likely have an infection.

Some redness is to be expected, but should subside. Much like swelling, if the redness persists, and is accompanied by pain, your piercing is probably infected.

Bleeding Gums

Much like swelling and redness, a little bleeding is to be expected initially following your oral piercing. But if the bleeding continues even after the healing period is over, it could indicate an infection.

Red streaks are a sign of an infection with a tongue piercing. The streaks start at the piercing site and radiate outward, down the front and sides of your tongue. If you notice these streaks, along with pain, or even a fever, be sure to contact your dentist right away. You will most likely need an antibiotic to fight off this particular type of infection.

If your tongue turns an unusual color, don't ignore it. An infection could turn your tongue purple, yellow, green or even black. Any of these colors often indicate that the infection is severe. This type of discoloration is often accompanied by pus or discharge. If you notice these signs, get immediate medical help.

Your dentist will be able to help you take measures to keep your oral health safe and your piercing clean. However, if you are faced with an infection, be sure to contact our office away.

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Scott M. Redlinger, DMD, MD

(775) 430-5355

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