If you're excited about the prospect of getting a tongue piercing, chances are you've done your research on where to get it done and how to care for the incision. However, that doesn't mean that your work is over just yet. If you have gum disease or suspect that you might, you need to get help from your dentist before you get a piercing. Here's why.
What Causes Gum Disease
Gum disease is a term that encompasses several different conditions, like gingivitis and periodontitis. Both of these common forms of gum disease are caused by bacteria.
In essence, gum disease is a long-running persistent infection. When bacteria overwhelm your gums, they can't fight off all of the bacteria and become infected. If this goes on long enough, your symptoms can become severe and morph into periodontitis. Unfortunately, that's not where the problems stop.
Bacteria doesn't typically stay in one place. Once the bacteria have affected your gums, they may move on to other areas, like the bloodstream. Long before they go that far, however, you'll end up with a large amount of dangerous bacteria in your mouth. This is one of the reasons why people with gum disease often have bad breath, too.
These bacteria can cause irritation and inflammation wherever they go, but they can also trigger infections in other tissues if they find an entrance. This means that your new lip piercing could easily become infected if you don't have your gums taken care of and the bacteria killed off before you get your piercing.
What to Do
Before you make an appointment to get a piercing, make an appointment with your dentist. Your dentist will be able to tell you right away if you have gum disease and how severe it is. The treatment your dentist follows will depend on the severity. In early stages, a thorough cleaning may be all you need for your gums to heal and the bacteria to lose their hiding places, like built-up tartar in the mouth.
If you have a more severe form of gum disease, your treatment will be more intensive. You'll need the deep cleaning, as well as antibiotics and possibly surgical removal of dead or severely damaged gum tissue. This process can take a while, so talk to your dentist to find out when they think you'll be ready to get your piercing.
Tongue piercings are far less likely to get infected if you don't have a mouthful of nasty bacteria to contend with. Talk to your dentist and get this step finished first so that you don't develop a bad infection in your tongue.
For more information, reach out to dental offices like Lake Pleasant Dentistry.