Infected Lip Ring

Oral piercings are increasing in popularity these days in both the adolescent and adult population. Similar to pierced ears and noses, oral piercings can also develop infections. As a dental office, we have seen our fair share of oral piercings, including healthy ones and infected ones.

Picture of an Infected Lip Ring

Photo of an infected lip ring showing pus and erythema

Two photos of the same infected lip ring in a teenage female. Photos by Dr. Nicholas Calcaterra

The photo above shows an infected lip ring in a teenage female. How do we know it is infected? We can observe the redness (technically known as erythema) indicating active inflammation. We can also observe the yellow/white substance near the entry point on the inner surface of the lip on the photo to the right indicating the presence of pus.

Signs of an infected oral piercing

There are numerous signs of a lip or tongue ring that is infected. These include:

  • Pain or burning sensation localized to that site.
  • Redness in the area.
  • Swelling or raised tissue next to the piercing.
  • A metallic taste originating from the area.
  • Presence of pus.
  • And other signs

Treatment of an infected lip ring

If you believe you have an infected piercing, you should always seek medical attention from a dentist, oral surgeon, or physician. In general, treatment can include:

  • Removal of the piercing.
  • Irrigation of the area with water.
  • Topical antibiotics.
  • And in rare occasions, systemic antibiotics.