ZocdocAnswersHow infected is my tongue?

Question

How infected is my tongue?

I have a tongue i pierced it a week ago. at first it started off with a white crust now that im using sea salt in turned yellowish no swelling or nor pain what is it.

Answer

Sorry to hear that you had your tongue pierced and are worried that you may have an infection. I am happy to give you some of my thoughts about what might be going on, but ultimately I am going to recommend that you make an appointment to be evaluated by a physician. I recommend an ENT (Ear Nose Throat) physician, aka otolaryngologist. They deal with oral pathology day in and day out, and will be able to examine you and give a good differential diagnosis. They can also take a thorough history which I am not able to do in this setting. Wounds in the oral cavity and oropharynx do not heal with scabs like abrasion of the skin do. Rather they heal with a whitish (usually fairly foul smelling) eschar on them. This is why after a tonsillectomy, there are whitish scabs in the back of the throat for about a week or two. This is because the oropharynx is moist, warm, and well colonized with bacteria. What this means is that open sores in the mouth and throat always heal with somewhat of a 'low grade' infection. These can turn a yellowish color as well. My best guess is that there is some exposed muscle on your tongue that is going through different stages of healing. An ENT will be able to tell you for sure if this is in fact what is going on after examining you.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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