An Early Bite with Dr. John Paul: “I’m Gonna Pierce My Tongue!”

By Dr. John Paul, FDA Editor

Having had more than my share of stitches and staples, I really can’t imagine electively poking holes in my person. You can imagine my dismay and confusion when someone comes in with a new piece of tongue jewelry or a glitter booger (that thing stuck through their nose, cheek, lip).

I’d love to get my two cents worth in before the assault takes place.

“Now, Ms. Gruntbuns, let me get this straight — you want to get your tongue pierced?

“Aren’t you the one who cringes while sitting in my chair and nearly faints when you get an injection? You do realize they are going to use a much bigger needle and you will not be numb? They will hold your tongue still with a big pair of pliers — remember your delicate gag reflex? — and then jam the needle right through. Then, they’ll put in the barbell, pat you on your head and send you home. Remember all those cavities we keep filling, and the bugs that cause them? They are gonna make a beeline for this new hole in your tongue and unless you are very lucky, you will have a swollen tongue from the injury and the infection that follows.

“If you are still set on adorning yourself with tongue jewelry, there is one more thing you must know. I have never seen a patient with tongue jewelry who doesn’t play with it. You flick it in and out against your teeth and bite on it, and eventually you break teeth, or fillings or crowns. There’s no warranty on restorations if you have tongue jewelry. There’s also no warranty if you have a glitter booger that wears out tooth surface or gum. Now would be a great time to let this fad pass you by.”

Have a question you have a tough time answering? Send it to Dr. Paul at jpaul@bot.floridadental.org.

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