Teenagers love to pierce their body. They think it looks cool, and since their parents hate it, it really must be cool. The problem is that the cool factor may not be worth the serious (and sometimes permanent) damage it can cause to the body.
The tongue contains some large and important blood vessels. If one of those blood vessels becomes ruptured, a lot of blood can be lost, and it may well mean a trip to the hospital to have it corrected. The tongue could also swell up, obstructing the airway and impairing breathing. On top of that, if a nerve becomes damaged as a result of tongue piercing, some sense of taste can be lost. There is also the risk of neuralgia, a condition classified by severe, unusual and long-lasting nerve pain due to a change in nerve structure.
While blood loss and nerve damage are bad enough, infection is even worse. The bacteria in the mouth can easily find its way into the bloodstream via the many blood vessels in the tongue. If this happens, there is the risk of getting very sick—or in the worst-case scenario, dying. Even if death does not occur, permanent damage to the body, including the brain, is possible. This kind of case is thankfully rare, but the possibility still exists.
Permanent damage to the teeth can occur as a result of having a tongue piercing. Barbells have been known to chip and crack the enamel of teeth, particularly those in the front. While these can be taken care of with fillings and crowns, they will have to be renewed over and over for the rest of that person’s life. If the damage is bad enough, it can affect the nerves, causing severe pain and possibly requiring a root canal. Furthermore, barbells can rub on the gums, causing damage that needs to be repaired through periodontal surgery.
Piercings are not perfect. They are man-made. This means that things can go wrong, and one of those things is a barbell coming unscrewed. In this case, every part of the piercing has a risk of being swallowed or inhaled. The barbell can very well pass through the body without any harm, but there is the possibility of it getting caught on something and causing extensive internal damage. The biggest risk, though, is through an object being inhaled. If this happens then it may be necessary to have surgery.
While body piercing professionals are required to adhere to strict sanitation standards, there are many who do not comply. If they do not sanitize their instruments properly, the risk of transmitting an infection is considerable. Adding to this risk is the fact that several piercers are self-trained and not licensed to perform this kind of procedure.
The cool factor is not worth the risk. Some of the risks, such as death, may be less common, but the mere possibility is disconcerting. Nobody would play the lottery if there were a small chance they would be killed if they got the wrong ticket number.