Good-bye Old Friend…

New Dentist, New Rules

So today I met my new dentist…  A mercury free, holistic dentist using oxygen therapy for advanced healing…  Pretty snazzy, eh?

Rewind… For those that don’t know, I’ve had a tongue piercing for ummmm….  Let’s just say, a really long time.

Back to now… Well, guess what was the topic of our conversation today. (Sad, pouty face…)  Taking out my tongue piercing.  Not so snazzy…

But I Love My Tongue Piercing…

I still remember when I got my tongue pierced!  It was the Fourth of July image1weekend and I went with a group of friends down to Ocean City, Maryland for the long weekend.  Ellie already had her tongue pierced at the time and in some drunken stupor, the rest of us agreed to get it done the next day! Probably from too many fish bowl beers!  (Yes, there was a time that I used to drink alcohol…)

Instead of waiting for the vacation to end, we went and had our tongues pierced on the second day there.  Boy, oh boy, we were not prepared for the pain, nor the swelling!  We literally lived on Scope mouthwash and Aleve’s the entire trip!  But I did manage to find the least painful way to eat my plate of fried shrimps that evening!

Man, I did my best to hide my tongue piercing from my mom when I got back. Yes, I had already graduated college…  Yes, I was in my early 20’s…  Yes, I lived 75 miles away from home…  But I had a Spanish mom: age, accomplishments, nor distance were relevant to getting your butt beat for something she didn’t agree with. And Mom was not a fan of piercings and tattoos!

I pulled it off for a few years despite everyone asking how she never saw it…  I honestly didn’t know… Every time I laughed out loud, you could see it!  But somehow, she didn’t.  Eventually they jinxed me!!!  Mom finally saw it when I was post-op for my gall bladder surgery and yup, she hit me dead on my head while I was still waking up from the anesthesia!

Really? I Have To Take It Out?

My cousin Leonore I think was the first to suggest that I should take out my piercing…  She commented on it while we were discussing my diagnosis on one of her visits…  I don’t think I ever considered it until that discussion.

Later to comment was our nutritionist, Nancy Guberti.  She’s such a sweetie… By this time I had dismissed the notion. Sorry Nancy!  Then my loving Dr. Miriam Rahav mentioned it when my metals test came back high – before I had all of my mercury fillings removed…  But then I had my fillings changed.  That was enough, right?

Most recently was Dr. Joan Cavalcante, my Biofeedback Therapist…  She went into meridian damage and metal seepage into the brain.  Ok, she planted a seed.  And finally today, my new dentist, Dr. Mollica said it, except he didn’t smile, nor did he suggest.

Long Term Effects of Tongue Piercings

So, besides the dangers of actually piercing your tongue, there are some really annoying (and expensive… and dangerous…) long term effects.

I suffered the first annoying (and expensive…) side effect quite a few years ago…  While eating, I ended up biting my piercing and fractured my lower left molar…  After a failed filling, it turned into a root canal because the crack on my tooth went too deep into the root. Yup.  A nice chunk of change went to my dentist for that procedure.  Apparently you’re supposed to take your piercing out when eating.  Really???  Who does that?

What’s worse than that?  I fractured a second tooth with my tongue piercing!!   Whaaat?  In my defense, the second tooth was almost 15 years later…  That’s what led me to the new dentist.  He uses ceramic hardware, instead of metal, in the screws and in his crowns with his root canals.  I had already been advised to get the root canal by my old general dentist, but today’s exam confirmed that I definitely need it.

So another side effect is small fractures in the tooth enamel… It’s compared to a “wrecking ball” against your teeth?  Why do I imagine the Miley Cyrus video when I picture this…?  Ok, seriously, I have a bunch of small cracks on my tooth enamel.  What’s the big deal about that?  Well, it leads to tooth erosion… and tooth erosion leads to cavities, sensitivity, and bigger fractures…  Get the picture?  That’s why it’s recommended to also take out your tongue piercing when you’re going to bed.  Small fractures?  Not fun.

You know how everyone says the tongue is the fastest healing organ in the body?  Well… It’s kinda true, kinda not.  It does heal the fastest given the opportunity to heal with the right conditions, but it also harbors the most bacteria.  Now picture an open wound disturbing the harmony nature has created in your mouth… Yeah…

Did you know that systemic infections and inflammation based problems can occur anywhere in the body from tongue piercings?!?  Whoa!!!   What?  When I was first diagnosed with Neurosarcoidosis, I suffered chronic fatigue.  During my path to wellness, Dr. Rahav discovered I had the Epstein-Barr virus.  We treated it with high doses of Vitamin C, and of course dietary support, but guess what…?  A study done with lip and tongue piercing found them to be a source of certain viral and bacterial infections including Epstein-Barr.  Damn.  What if this contributed towards my Neurosarc?  Things were looking bad for my piercing…

According to Dr Oz, bacteria love living in that pierced canal through your tongue.  Bugs colonize on the post and against the balls.  They build up their resistance so even mouth wash doesn’t kill them.  Ever hear how plaque can cause heart disease?  Well so can these critters, along with a bunch of other disorders.  Ok… Point made.

I know that anyone who has a tongue piercing has played with the ball between their teeth…  It’s true…  Admit it!  I do it all the time.  Apparently that’s another health concern.  Biting or rolling the piercing against your teeth creates a groove over time with the repeated action.  From doing this for so many years, I now have a groove where my bar fits nicely against my lower centrals. Yeah, that’s not a good thing.

Ugh… And finally… My gums…  (Shaking my head…)  So my concern was after 4 years of high doses of oral and IV Prednisone therapy for my Neurosarcoid, my gums were finally starting to show negative reactions.  You’re probably already guessing this, but yeah…  Turns out, my tongue piercing can be just as damaging to my gums as all of the immunosuppressive medications I have been taking all these years.  After a prickly exam, the dentist confirmed that I have some deep pockets forming along my gum line…  Where?  A lot are in areas where my tongue piercing makes contact with my gums.

Out With The Old

Today I had to take my tongue piercing out for my oral x-rays… And despite my sadness, I have not reinserted my piercing.

When it comes down to it, my health comes first.  Although I don’t know if, or how much, my piercing has contributed to my chronic health condition, I also can’t guarantee it is totally benign.  Why take the chance?

We had a good run…

I wonder what my doctors would say about a new tattoo….?  Hmmmm…..

Have a tongue ring you’re not ready to part with? All I can say is to make sure you remove and clean your barbell regularly.  It is suggested you actually take out your jewelry while eating and at night while you are sleeping. This protects your teeth from fractures and accumulated bacteria. No one I know does this but it’s really the best way to protect your health. Check in with your dentist and be sure to have regular periodontal check-ups to ensure your gum health.

Here’s to good oral health!!!