Oral piercings have become more prevalent than ever. These piercings, usually around the lips or in the tongue, can sometimes invite long-term consequences such as swelling, problems tasting and swallowing, teeth that chip or crack, and scars. Short-term possibilities include airway blockages (from tongue swelling) and uncontrolled bleeding. Those who have an oral piercing can also incur the possibility of choking on a piece of jewelry that has become dislodged.

The most serious health problems that can occur from oral piercings result from damage to the gums, cheeks, palate and other soft tissues. If your piercing was performed in an unsterile (and therefore, unsafe) environment, you may be at risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis, or other dangerous infectious diseases.