Cosmetic piercings of the oral cavity, which include those through the lips, tongue and upper chin, are a popular option for individuals wishing to go beyond traditional ear piercing. However, piercings involving the mouth are much more sensitive than ear piercings, and they can occasionally cause medical complications. One of these problems is hypergranulation, an abnormal accumulation of tissues around the site of the piercing. Here is more information about hypergranulation, how you can prevent it, and what to do if it develops:
Hypergranulation – an introduction
Hypergranulation occurs when an overabundance of granulomas, which are benign tissue growths, interfere with the normal healing process of injured tissues. Hypergranulation is easy to recognize, as it possesses distinctive characteristics. If the wound at the site of your oral piercing shows the following characteristics, you probably are experiencing hypergranulation:
Raised or "bumpy" appearing surface
Dark red or sometimes purple in color
Bleed readily with contact
Granulation tissues that are healing normally will be light red in color, flush with surface of the wound, and not bleed easily. High levels of pain are not associated with normal or abnormal granulomas, though they may sensitive to touch.
Causes of hypergranulation and how to prevent it
Hypergranulation often happens whenever a wound site is subjected to a lengthy period of swelling. In the case of piercings, the metal stud is a "foreign" invader within the wound environment; normal healing processes go awry after fighting continuously to rid the body of the stud's presence.
Hypergranulation doesn't always occur after an oral piercing, but here are some things that you should do to prevent it from happening:
Keep movements to a minimum – if you have a tongue piercing, resist the urge to manipulate the stud within your mouth. Don't suck on the stud, or pull or push on it with your teeth. Constant motion initiates repeated wound-healing responses that can eventually lead to hypergranulation.
Maintain good oral hygiene – since infection can cause or contribute to hypergranulation, it's necessary to keep your mouth clean to reduce the presence of harmful bacteria. Here are a few hints to help you properly care for your oral piercing site:
Rinse with salt water and mouthwash daily – a teaspoon of salt dissolved in a glass of warm water is an effective and gentle cleanser for the wounded tissues inside your mouth. In addition, you should also use an alcohol-free mouthwash to eliminate the bacteria that cause problems. Mouthwash containing alcohol will irritate and dry tissues inside your mouth, and it can actually make the problem worse by killing productive bacteria.
Get a new toothbrush – your old toothbrush may not seem very dirty, but it actually can contain bacteria that will infect the wound site within your mouth. In addition, once you get a new toothbrush, be sure to sanitize it daily by soaking it for a few minutes in 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol.
Avoid intimate oral contact – another person's bodily fluids could prove to be infectious, so it is best if you avoid oral-to-genital sexual contact during the healing process.
Get help if hypergranulation develops
Hypergranulation is rarely a significant medical problem, but it can be a frustrating, prolonged ordeal that interferes with your plans. If you begin to see the aforementioned signs of hypergranulation at your piercing site, don't delay in seeking professional attention. If you go to websites, dentists have a thorough understanding of oral tissues and how to provide wound treatment in that sensitive environment. They can provide you with various alternatives to help heal hypergranulation.
In some cases, the best course of action to treat hypergranulation is to abandon the piercing site and try another location after healing occurs. It's understandable to be disappointed if you are directed to do so, but don't disregard this advice. Ultimately, your patience will be rewarded by having a healthy mouth and future piercing.