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Pediatr Dent. 2012 Jan-Feb;34(1):56-60.

Oral piercing injuries treated in United States emergency departments, 2002-2008.

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University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY, USA.



The purpose of this study was to report the epidemiology and clinical history of oral piercing injuries presenting to US hospital emergency departments (EDs).


A retrospective analysis of oral piercing injuries was performed using patient injury data collected from 2002 through 2008 using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. National estimates of ED visits were analyzed by injury type, anatomic site, and mechanism of injury according to age, gender, and race.


An estimated 24,459 oral piercing injuries presented to US EDs during the 7-year period. The male:female ratio for ED visits was 1:2.6. Patients 14- to 22-years-old accounted for 73% of the ED visits. Injuries to the lips (46%), tongue (42%), and teeth (10%) predominated. Infections (42%) and soft tissue puncture wounds (29%) caused injury most commonly. Thirty-nine percent of ED visits resulted from patients' inability to remove mucosally overgrown oral piercings. Hospitalization was rarely required (<1%).


Oral piercing injuries treated in US hospital emergency departments are most prevalent in teenagers and young adults. National data indicates that dentists working in emergency departments should be prepared to manage oral hard and soft tissue complications caused by oral piercings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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