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Lip and Tongue Piercings

Read on to know about lip and tongue piercings.
Natasha Bantwal
Piercings have been practiced for many centuries, but have mostly been an under-forty sort of trend. Today, it is a practice that is looked down upon by many adults and other organizations. There are certainly many potential risks and problems involved, but it does not stop many youngsters from getting it done.

The World of Piercings

Since time immemorial, people all over the world had body piercing done as a form of decoration, or even to display importance in a tribe or group or protect themselves from evil.
Literature states that the art of piercing is more than just art, it is a form of expression. It can be seen as an act of religious expression, rebellion, sexual enhancement, a response to peer pressure, ritual, cultural expression, or even a fashion trend.
All over the world, people from different religions and different cultures have pierced their bodies for various reasons.
The Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians alike practiced experiments, the ancient Mayans and Aztecs had labret piercings that were beautifully fashioned in gold jade and obsidian, and the Native Americans also had ones of ivory, obsidian, bone, abalone shell, and wood.
Lip piercings are extremely popular today as well as in the years gone by. However, there were only 2 known tribes that used ring piercings for their lips, the Nuba tribe of Ethiopia and the Dogon tribe of Mali.

Risks Involved

  • Infections during and after piercing (HIV, hepatitis, yeast infection, and bacteria)
  • Excessive bleeding.
  • Nerve damage.
  • Wrong jewelry type used for the pierced area. If the ring is too small, it can cut off blood supply, causing pain and swelling. If the ring is too big or heavy, it can tear the flesh off.
  • Allergic reactions to the metal used.
  • Excess tissue formation around the piercing.
  • Keloid formation.
  • Swelling of tongue, chipped and broken teeth, dental damage, and buildup of tartar formation around the jewelry.
  • Choking on any loose pieces of jewelry.
  • Initial speech impediment.
  • Initial difficulty in chewing.
  • Swelling and inflammation.

Healing Time and Aftercare

The healing time will vary from individual to individual, and also depends on what part of the body has been pierced. Places like the tongue and the lip are more likely to get infected than other drier areas.
Lip piercings take anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks to heal completely. Swelling usually occurs around 2 to 3 days after the piercing and lasts for about a week to ten days. The piercings have the tendency to move positions inside the lip, which is known as nesting. Rings are more likely to do this than studs, as they don't move as much.
Once the lip is pierced, the thin membrane inside the mouth will be cut, but this skin will grow back over the stud. This skin will eventually die and a sort of depression will be formed, but in the meantime, the back of the stud can get embedded in the wound. If this happens, there is no need to worry; it is quite common, in time the wound will settle down.
Tongue piercings take around 4 weeks to heal completely. At first, these piercings will swell a lot but if the right kind of jewelry is used, they tend to heal very quickly. If you happen to use a barbell, it has to be downsized as soon as the swelling subsides, or else it will result in the biting of the barbell and maybe the fracture of a couple of teeth.
Ideally, people with tongue piercings have to go on soft diets for the first couple of weeks. Note that the greatest danger of fracturing a tooth will always be in the first two months.
Check for looseness of the barbell, or redness around the area. Scarred areas should not be pierced again and failure to clean the barbell will most definitely lead to tartar buildup, which can weld the barbell together.
Keeping all the given information in mind, if you are still raring to get a lip or tongue piercing, then choose an artist who is safe and hygienic, and take care of yourself for the next couple of weeks.