A rising trend in the piercing community is to get what's called a smiley piercing. This is a piercing that placed on the upper frenulum in the mouth, the thin piece of tissue connecting your upper lip to your gums. While this piercing looks really cool when you smile, it can cause some oral health problems that may lead to tooth damage or loss. Here are two potential complications you may experience with a smiley piercing and how to prevent them.

Gum and Tooth Damage

The primary issue you'll run into with this type of body modification is there is a high chance the jewel will rub against the gums and teeth. This typically occurs when the piercing is placed too low on the frenulum, leading to an issue where the jewel is in constant contact with the teeth and gums during normal mouth movements.

The rubbing can irritate the gums, causing them to recede. This, in turn, can set you up for a whole host of oral health problems. For instance, the gum recession may expose the roots of your teeth, which are more sensitive. So you may experience pain every time you consume hot or cold foods and drinks. The constant movement and pressure from the piercing may also wear away the enamel on your teeth, which can also lead to tooth sensitivity and increase your risk of getting cavities.

It's important to choose a piercing technician who understands these issues and knows how to place the jewel so it's less likely to cause these problems. Additionally, you should get your teeth and gums checked on a regular basis, and take the piercing out if it appears it's damaging your gums and teeth.

Oral Infection

Another issue that's inherent to all types of piercings is the risk of infection. However, with a frenulum piercing, that risk may exist long after the area has healed. This is because there is a chance the ring may migrate from its original position. The frenulum is very thin and not designed to hold something as heavy as a piece of oral jewelry. Therefore, the piercing may move and tear the skin in the process. This is also likely to happen if you have a bad habit of playing with the jewel with your tongue or you have other oral piercings (e.g. tongue barbells) that may accidentally get caught on the frenulum jewel when you speak or eat.

At any one time, there are between 500 to 1,000 different types of bacteria in the mouth. Any of these can invade the open wound in your frenulum and cause an infection. To avoid this problem, it's essential that you practice good oral hygiene. Additionally, rinse your mouth on a regular basis with a medicated mouthwash to keep harmful oral bacteria to a minimum.

For more information on how a smiley piercing may affect your oral health or help resolving problems created by this procedure, contact a dentist, like one from Barnstable Dental Associates.