HOW TO MANAGE AN INFECTED ORAL PIERCING
When you get an oral piercing such as a barbell through your tongue, or a ring or stud in your lip or cheek, you are creating a wound. With time, the wound can heal, but it is not uncommon for us to see patients who have an infected oral piercing and require medical attention.
How Infections Develop
When bacteria become trapped inside of the wound, or the piercing, it grows and feeds and becomes infected. Signs that your piercing has become infected include increased pain, flesh that is hot to the touch, swelling, weeping and even discoloration of the tissue in the mouth. If you suspect that your piercing has become infected, please call us immediately so that we can get you in and examine your mouth for signs of infection before it spreads.
Please do not attempt to remove your jewelry on your own, but we ask that you don’t do that. Removing the jewelry can cause additional irritation and can cause the pierced site to close, this can trap the bacteria below the surface and cause the infection to spread.
After you have called our office and scheduled your appointment, clean your piercing with an over the counter saline solution. You can even soak a sturdy paper towel with the saline solution and gently wipe around the wound. Use caution when doing this so that you don’t scrub or poke at the site as this will cause more irritation.
Avoid the temptation to use over the counter antibiotics or creams as these are not meant to be used internally and can cause illness. Continue to keep the rest of your mouth clean by brushing at least twice per day and flossing regularly while you wait for your appointment with us. Please do not hesitate to call us immediately if you notice that your oral piercing has become infected.