Pierced Patients

piercing

You will definitely see patients with piercings other than just the ears. An eyebrow here, a nose there, usually are of no concern to the dentist. However, you will increasingly have patients present for treatment with pierced lips or tongue. It will be a professional judgment call as to whether you feel comfortable examining and treating such patients with piercings in place. Proper visualization and palpation of oral structures, not to mention the very close proximity of high speed rotary instruments and the potential for infection and tooth fracture and ricochet, make the orally pierced patient a special consideration. Asking the patient to remove tongue barbells or lip rings before coming into the dental office are often met with resistance. However, if you say your instrumentation may damage their barbell or whatever, you will be surprised how quickly they will remove it to “protect” it!

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One of my patients did agree to remove her lower lip ring and saliva dribbled out the hole and down her chin during the entire visit. Charming. Another patient refused to remove an unusually large tongue tip barbell and I refused to treat her. Use your own judgment. Good luck! (and skip the lectures; tattoos and piercings have gone mainstream).

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