To pierce or not to pierce? That is the question! And the answer is: oral piercings never improve dental health or teenage teeth, but can certainly harm it.
Obviously telling a teenager this is easier said than done…
I reached out to Dr. Drew Popper, an experienced and highly reputable Pediatric Dentist Located in Boca Raton, and the American Dental Association agrees, stating that “The ADA advises against the practices of cosmetic intraoral/perioral piercing and tongue splitting, and views these as invasive procedures with negative health sequelae that outweigh any potential benefit.”
This translates to: Don’t do it.
The Florida Department of Health also appears to see it that way, at least where teenagers are concerned. They wrote into state law the provision that “Minors under 18 years of age and at least 16 years of age must have a notarized consent form signed by their parent or legal guardian. The consent form must have a description of the type of piercing to be performed on the minor. Minors under 16 years of age must be accompanied by the parent or legal guardian.”
So, if your under-18 teen wants an oral piercing and the law is followed, rest assured you’ll know about it. And if you consent and your child is under 16, you’ll even get to see it done. Lucky you!
Dr. Popper doesn’t recommend oral piercing and advises against it.
Some of the more severe dental and general harms piercings cause teenage teeth are:
- Infections (including hepatitis)
- Physical damage to teeth and fillings
- Nerve damage (sometimes permanent)
- Allergic reaction to ornament materials
- Severe pain
Less serious issues include drooling, speech impediment, and the chore of cleaning and maintaining the jewelry. Oral piercings can also interfere with dental checkups for teenage teeth, the metal posing a problem for x-ray imaging. All of these well-known and perfectly reasonable deterrents notwithstanding, teens more than any other age group are especially attracted to oral piercings.
If I were to poll my reader parents of teenage kids, it’s certain that with no brainstorming or debating we could outline a dozen explanations for this. But, nobody’s come up with an easy way to change teenage minds…yet. 😉 I’m relieved every day that #dailybocaavery is still under the age of 6!
Some parents, those against the idea like me, give in on the “pick your battles” theory. Other parents are neutral. And some accept the teen’s choice as another step in exploring life’s possibilities.
According to Dr. Popper, all parents of teenagers with oral piercings, or determined to have them, should acquaint themselves and their pierced ones with the added care and hygiene practices that we know reduce the health risks.
My opinion? Make them wait until their 18. Maybe they’ll change their minds by then. 😉
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