Perhaps you will want to put that bucket list dream of having a lip ring on the back burner after hearing a little more about how it affects your mouth. Though piercings are a great way for people to express their personal style, the choice often comes with a cost.

For starters, lip rings and tongue piercings are typically made out of metal. As you can imagine, the jewelry can knock against your teeth, chipping or fracturing them. Metal in the mouth can wear down enamel over time, creating greater tooth sensitivity as well as decay and discoloration. Tongue rings can actually damage previously created fillings, just because they tend to age faster with the wear and tear of mouth jewelry. Rings and studs can rub against the gum line, causing mouth sensitivity and gum recession to occur.

Tooth movement is also an effect of tongue studs; if the jewelry isn’t placed correctly, it can actually cause the teeth to shift over time. Some patients complain of excessive drooling or even nerve damage, depending on how and where the piercing is placed.

Now, we aren’t telling you to skip the piercings, necessarily. And don’t feel like you need to immediately remove a piercing that you have had for years! We ask, just like with any body modification decision, that you weigh the risks and carefully consider them before moving forward with any procedure that will have lasting effects on your health. In the meantime, keep up with good flossing and brushing habits, and check in with your friendly dentist!