If you have a lip or tongue piercing, then your orthodontist may have told you that you need to take it out before you can have braces fitted. Piercings can damage teeth and braces; some orthodontists prefer patients to lose their piercings completely for the duration of their treatment.
If you've agreed to take your piercing out and keep it out so that you can have your teeth fixed, then you may be wondering how soon your orthodontic treatment can start after you remove the piercing. While there are no hard and fast rules here, your orthodontist may prefer to wait a while. Why?
Minimise Infection Risk
In some cases, orthodontists may want patients to wait until a piercing heals over before they start bracing treatments. This reduces the chances of bacteria causing an infection.
If your piercing is relatively new, then it may not have completely healed up. Once you take your jewellery out, you aren't necessarily left with a sealed hole.
If parts of the piercing site haven't healed over yet, then they may be more likely to get infected. Bacteria may get into the site. Your orthodontist may want to wait for the hole to heal to check that everything is going to be OK before they put your braces on.
Dealing with a lip or tongue infection when you wear braces isn't going to be much fun. Plus, you may have an increased risk of developing problems if you have braces fitted before the piercing site heals. Some people have more bacteria in the mouth when they first wear braces as cleaning their teeth and gums takes some getting used to.
Even if you have an older piercing that has healed and that isn't likely to get infected, your orthodontist may want to wait before you start treatment. They may insist on waiting until the hole completely closes up.
They may be doing this to make sure that you aren't tempted to put your jewellery in again after your braces are fitted. They can't know what you're doing between appointments and may not want to risk you wearing piercing jewellery on the quiet. If the hole has closed, you can't do this.
Different orthodontists may have different views on whether you need to wait to have braces fitted after your piercing comes out. To find out what you need to do and whether you need to wait, talk to an orthodontic professional.