Tongue Piercings Linked to Gap Between Teeth

“Playing” with a pierced tongue stud could lead to a gap be­tween the front teeth, according to a new study conducted at the University at Buffalo in New York. The study suggests that tongue piercings could be a major cause of unnecessary orthodontic issues.
     The report claims that those with tongue piercings were likely to push the metal stud up against their teeth and consequently cause gaps and other problems. Chief Execu­tive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr. Nigel Carter, said the study highlighted the risks that tongue piercings have on oral health. In addition to causing an ap­parent gap, oral piercings can also lead to chipped teeth. Lead author of the study, Sawsan Tabbaa, DDS, MS, said that “force, over time, moves teeth” and that the results caused by people playing with their studs crop up in a “very high percent of the cases.” A professor of orthodontics at the Uni­versity at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, Dr. Tabbaa explained that tooth damage was common in both past and current case studies.
     The current study featured a 26-year-old female patient and showed that a space be­tween the upper front teeth had appeared during a period of 7 years, as the metal bar was pushed against and between the teeth. The patient provided researchers with photographs to show that she had no diastema before having her tongue pierced. It was strongly thought that cause of the midline space be­tween the front teeth was the positioning of the tongue stud between the maxillary central incisors. The only solution was for the pa­tient to wear a fixed brace for an extensive period of time. The author concluded that tongue piercings could result in serious injuries, not just to teeth, but have also been associated with hemorrhages, in­fections, trauma to the gums, and, in the worst cases, brain abscesses. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Clinical Ortho­dontics.
(Source: British Dental Health Foundat­ion news release, Au­gust 4, 2010. Visit the Web address buffalo.edu/news/1158 to view the original news re­lease from the University at Buffalo in New York.)
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