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J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2011 Dec;69(12):3032-7. doi: 10.1016/j.joms.2010.12.046. Epub 2011 May 7.

Oral piercings: immediate and late complications.

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School of Dentistry, Federal University of Pará-UFPA, Belém, Brazil.



Oral piercings have a long history as part of religious, cultural, or sexual symbolism in many traditional tribes; currently, these ornaments have wide acceptance among young people. Several oral and systemic complications may be associated with this practice; however, limited data related to these complications can be obtained in the literature.


This study includes 42 cases of oral piercings in 39 young adults, who were using or had used oral piercings, and the complications associated with their use.


Immediate complications occurred in 29 cases, including excessive bleeding (69%) and pain (52.3%) as the most representative. Two cases of syncope were found. Late complications related to the piercing insertion site were observed in 97.6% of cases, with pain and swelling being present in 92.9% and 61.9% of cases, respectively. Dental pain and lacerations on the tongue represented the most prevalent complications associated with the surrounding tissues, accounting for 33.3% and 31% of cases.


The use of oral piercings is related to a series of mainly local complications, and individuals who decide to use piercings should be aware of such complications. Individuals wishing to get a part of their body pierced should do so with qualified professionals and should regularly visit the dentist so that a regular control is achieved, thus ensuring the early detection of the adverse effects associated with this practice.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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