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Oral Piercings in Orthodontic Patients Options · View
Posted: Saturday, September 4, 2010 3:41:35 PM
Rank: Administration
Groups: Administration, Member

Joined: 4/17/2006
Posts: 14
Location: JCO Staff
The article Midline Diastema Caused by Tongue Piercing, published in our July issue by Drs. Sawsan Tabbaa, Ivanka Guigova, and C. Brian Preston, has been mentioned in such wide-ranging media as the AAO eBulletin, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, www.biosciencetechnology.com, The Wall Street Journal Health Blog, and, we’ve just heard, . . . The Onion!

In 2009, JCO’s online Instant Survey polled website readers about the most common problem they had seen in patients with oral piercings. Our list of possible replies didn’t even include creation of a major diastema. The most common problems noted among 500+ respondents were gingival recession, enamel damage, chronic infection, and interference with tooth movement.

What are your findings in patients with oral piercings? What short-term and long-term effects have you seen?

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Wendy Osterman
Managing Editor, JCO
Posted: Thursday, September 9, 2010 7:38:25 AM

Rank: New Member
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Joined: 4/20/2006
Posts: 2
Even in a relatively conservative Michigan small town, body jewelry has found a niche (pun intended). We have, however, noted only two incidents of "trouble" and both involved lower lip piercings. The first was an active infection around a poorly maintained lip ring. As might be expected, oral hygiene was not a high priority behavior for this braces patient. I'm always surprised we don't find more chelitis accompanying these types of labial insults. The second incident involved a midline lower lip piercing (a provocative, spiked stud). The lingual portion of the device had apparently "rubbed-raw" the facial mucosa from one of the lateral incisors, yielding substantial recession. Sadly, that tissue loss is unlikely to dissuade this patient from continuing to wear their body bling.

I've been hoping to have a patient volunteer to allow us to incorporate their piercings into our biomechanics as a new innovation - "muscular implant anchorage." The tongue is the strongest muscle in the body, why not harness its tooth-regulation potential (tongue-in-cheek)? At the minimum, those orthodontic patients that do present with just a pinch of metal 'tween cheek and gum, well they should be warned about the possible damage to teeth and soft tissues. Plus, they would seem to be inherently perfect candidates for more "invasive" procedures such as miniscrews, plates, or surgery due to their badges of courage that they so readily display . . .

S. Jay Bowman, Portage, MI
Posted: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 9:21:04 PM
Rank: Administration
Groups: Administration, Member

Joined: 4/17/2006
Posts: 14
Location: JCO Staff
from JCO Associate Editor Jack Sheridan:

I have had three patients with tongue piercings and have not observed any pathology or unwanted tooth movement due to these devices. But, complications are certainly possible and if the stud is impaled through the tongue for a considerable length of time. . . probable. On the other hand, the tongue has a robust capacity for healing and adapting to whatever is around it. Think about lingual appliances.

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