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Oral Piercing Injuries Treated in United States Emergency Departments, 2002-2008

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to report the epidemiology and clinical history of oral piercing injuries presenting to US hospital emergency departments (EDs). Methods: A retrospective analysis of oral piercing injuries was performed using patient injury data collected from 2002 through 2008 using the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. National estimates of ED visits were analyzed by injury type, anatomic site, and mechanism of injury according to age, gender, and race. Results: An estimated 24,459 oral piercing injuries presented to US EDs during the 7-year period. The male:female ratio for ED visits was 1:2.6. Patients 14- to 22-years-old accounted for 73% of the ED visits. Injuries to the lips (46%), tongue (42%), and teeth (10%) predominated. Infections (42%) and soft tissue puncture wounds (29%) caused injury most commonly. Thirty-nine percent of ED visits resulted from patients' inability to remove mucosally overgrown oral piercings. Hospitalization was rarely required (<1%). Conclusions: Oral piercing injuries treated in US hospital emergency departments are most prevalent in teenagers and young adults. National data indicates that dentists working in emergency departments should be prepared to manage oral hard and soft tissue complications caused by oral piercings.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Eastman Institute for Oral Health, University of Rochester Medical Center, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Pediatric Dentistry is the official publication of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and the College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. It is published bi-monthly and is internationally recognized as the leading journal in the area of pediatric dentistry. The journal promotes the practice, education and research specifically related to the specialty of pediatric dentistry. This peer-reviewed journal features scientific articles, case reports and abstracts of current pediatric dental research.
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