Oral Jewelry? What to Know before You Arrive at Your Oral Surgeon’s Office

If you have an appointment for an examination with Dr. Chan and Dr. Phan, or have a surgical procedure on your calendar, it’s always best to come prepared. Bring your ID, your insurance card, the name of the dentist who referred you and any of your pertinent records or X-rays, and a list of your allergies and any medications you’re taking. And one more suggestion—leave your oral jewelry at home.

There are many reasons that both dental and medical associations recommend against oral piercings. You take the chance of infection, damage to your tooth enamel and gums, allergic reactions, and even nerve damage. And beyond these long-term concerns, there are several immediate reasons to remove any jewelry or piercings before a trip your oral surgeon’s office.

  • Imaging Problems

The first step in restoring your health is to discover the nature of your injury. Often, this process requires an X-ray. Tongue, lip, and other oral jewelry can block the view of the very abscess, fracture, or other injury an X-ray is designed to reveal, and could require additional X-rays for clarity. And, of course, most MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) procedures require the removal of all metal jewelry.

  • Obstruction

Depending on its size and location, a piece of jewelry can interfere with access to the treatment area. Dr. Chan and Dr. Phan can let you know if your jewelry will get in the way of your procedure.

  • Aspiration/Ingesting Jewelry

If your jewelry becomes loose, there is the danger of aspiration (inhaling) or ingestion (swallowing) a metallic piece of the ring, barbell, stud, or whatever other jewelry you may have chosen. This foreign body can cause damage to your lungs or your digestive tract.

  • Intubation

If intubation is necessary for airway management, or could potentially be needed, jewelry could interfere with the swift and efficient placement of the intubation tube. For this reason, many surgeons recommend that it be removed as a precaution.

If you’re scheduled for a surgical procedure in your future, it’s always best to come prepared. If you have a lip, tongue, or any other oral piercing, call our Plano and Carrollton office for advice on what to do before your visit. We will be happy to let you know if your jewelry will be a problem during your exam or procedure.