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VOLUME 10 , ISSUE 6 ( November, 2009 ) > List of Articles


Complications of Tongue Piercing: A Review of the Literature and Three Case Reports

Else Hornecker, Rainer F. Mausberg, Dirk Ziebolz, Constantin Stuehmer, Katrin van Nüss

Citation Information : Hornecker E, Mausberg RF, Ziebolz D, Stuehmer C, van Nüss K. Complications of Tongue Piercing: A Review of the Literature and Three Case Reports. J Contemp Dent Pract 2009; 10 (6):65-71.

DOI: 10.5005/jcdp-10-6-65

License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Published Online: 01-07-2015

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2009; The Author(s).



The aims of this review of the literature are to offer further insights into possible problems related to tongue piercing and present three case reports showing undesired effects of tongue piercing.


From a dental perspective, oral piercings and especially tongue piercings are not a harmless fashion trend since they can be associated with local and systemic risks and complications. A search of the literature was conducted to investigate the documentation of health risks associated with tongue piercing using the MEDLINE database as well as the German literature.

Review Results

The literature contains numerous case reports, a limited number of studies, and a review describing a wide variety of complications, especially in patients who have undergone tongue piercing. In the majority of cases, the piercing of the tongue is performed in the midline. Piercings are made of different materials, usually metal or synthetic materials. Complications during piercing, immediately following piercing, as well as long term were found.


The three cases presented here demonstrate some of those adverse effects. The most commonly described oral complication is the damage of teeth and the periodontium caused by tongue piercings. Tongue piercing is a personal decision, but it is important that patients are fully aware of possible oral health hazards.

Clinical Significance

Patients need better information on the potential complications associated with tongue piercing. Dental practitioners should educate patients about potential side effects and possible oral, dental, and systemic complications.


Ziebolz D, Stuehmer C, van Nüss K, Hornecke E, Mausberg RF. Complications of Tongue Piercing: A Review of the Literature and Three Case Reports. J Contemp Dent Pract [Internet]. 2009 Nov: 10(6):065-071. Available from: volume10-issue6-ziebolz.

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