Throughout the millennia, people around the world have modified their bodies with piercings and tattoos. In recent years, the dental profession has seen a rise in modifications in the oral cavity, especially among young people. Though on the surface these piercings may seem decorative, they come with myriad side effects.
I spent many Sunday mornings this summer soaking up sun rays at a local restaurant eating brunch in my tank top and Ray Bans. I’ve gotten to know a few of the locals who frequent the same restaurant. While sipping my morning Joe and catching up on social media, stories about life were shared. The question of what I do for a living came up during one of our socials. I told them I was a dental student. Then their eyes immediately shift to the large shoulder tattoo on my left arm. “They let you have that in dental school?”
When I tell people I have a tattoo the first thing I see are widened eyes followed by shocked gasps. “What!” they exclaim “you have a tattoo? Where?”Their opinion of me automatically changes within those first few minutes after the revelation. I suddenly transform from the boring dental student to the rebellious night-crawler.
Tattoos have a long history since the first evidence of their existence dating back to 2000 B.C. in Ancient Egypt. In the past tattoos may have served as amulets, status symbols, declarations of love, signs of religious beliefs, adornments and even forms of punishment, today they are a common form of personal expression. But do they belong in dentistry?