17 September 2010
The habit of playing with the tiny, barbell-shaped stud of tongue piercings and pushing it against the front teeth may be causing, in many cases, a small gap to be forced between the teeth.
US researchers described a case of a 26-year-old woman who developed a large space between her upper central incisors which had previously been closed orthodontically.
She had received a tongue piercing 7 years earlier, and had repeatedly pushed the stud between her upper front teeth, creating the space. Her treatment involved a fixed braces appliance to push the teeth back together, they reported in the July 2010 issue of the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics (2010; 44: 426-8).
The authors said previous surveys had found the presence of a barbell implant/stud caused the person to push this against the front teeth.
“The barbell is never removed because the tongue is so vascular that leaving it out can result in the healing of the opening”, the authors said. “So it makes perfect sense that constant pushing of the stud against the teeth – every day with no break – will move them or drive them apart.”
Tongue piercing had also been associated with infection, chipped and fractured teeth, gum trauma and haemorrhage, the authors said.
Last Reviewed: 17 September 2010