Smiley Piercing – Infection, Pain, Risks, Caution, And Jewelry

Body piercing, a form of body modification, had been in practice since the historic time. Traditionally, it used to be a part of tribal customs and culture.

Ear and nose piercings adorned with ornaments are common styles followed in all cultures across the world.

Currently, piercing of eyebrow, fraenum, frenulum, lip, or tongue is done by many as an extreme fashion and style that involves pain and rarity. There are numerous other interesting body piercings are done for the sake of painful pleasures and beauty.

At the moment, smiley piercing is one of the most popular oral piercings. It is a fashion trend that gained a lot of popularity in the 1990s.

The risks associated with piercing in the mouth are much higher than that of the skin.

Many people, especially in the fashion and music industry, considered oral piercing as an exotic style with X factor beauty.

The smile of a person is made beautiful with the appearance of piercing jewelry in the frenulum or tongue. The jewelry in the mouth just complements your teeth and lips to add an aura to your personal appearance.

There are four different types of mouth or oral piercing:

  • Tongue Piercings: Wearing studs or rings on the tongue through the deep piercing. It makes the person appear sexy and stylish. But it can cause speech impediments.
  • Lingual Frenulum Piercing (Tongue Web): It involves the piercing of loose tissue that links the tongue to the floor of the mouth; usually a curved barbell or CBR jewelry is worn in lingual frenulum piercing.
  • Frowny Frenulum Piercing: This involves the piercing of the thin connective tissue (frenulum) that connects the bottom lip to the gums. Frowny frenulum piercing is not visible in most cases even if the person frowns. It can damage the gum and tooth [7].
  • Smiley or Scrumper Frenulum Piercing: It involves the piercing of the upper lip frenulum.

In this article we are going to discuss in detail scrumper piercing; the cost, aftercare, healing, pain, risks, infection, and the type of jewelry usually worn in this type of piercing.

smiley piercing review

What Is Smiley Piercing?

A smiley piercing is done by piercing the frenulum (a thin layer of skin) that connects the upper lip to the gum. It is also known as scrumper piercing or gum piercing.

After piercing the frenulum with a needle, suitable jewelry is inserted into it.

The name “smiley” metaphorically means that the piercing with the jewelry becomes visible when the wearer smiles.

Whenever the wearer gives a wide grin on their face, the beautiful jewelry adorning the upper lip frenulum is naturally exposed. It gives added beauty and charm to the smile.

The ‘frowny piercing’ on the frenulum of the lower lip is an ‘anti-smiley’ piercing because it becomes visible only when the wearer is angry and frowns with wide-open lips.

Among all the oral piercings, scrumper and tongue piercings are the most commonly followed oral piercing styles. Lingual frenulum and frowny frenulum piercings are rarely followed styles with very few takers for it.

Pros And Cons Of Smiley Piercing

How To Do A Smiley Piercing?

To do the smiley piercing requires great attention and care.

Most people have a very thin strip of frenulum that connects the lip to the gum. So it is important that the piercing of the frenulum should be done by a well-trained and experienced piercing expert at a studio.

You are advised not to perform the smiley piercing if you do not have a sufficiently large frenulum that can comfortably hold the jewelry.

A weak and thin frenulum will not be able to sustain the pressure of the piercing or later on the jewelry might tear it away.

A professional piercer at the studio uses the right piercing needle and anesthetic options.

The piercer can also provide you with aftercare solutions like sea salt mouth rinse, non-alcoholic mouthwash, and purified saline mouthwash for the faster healing of the piercing.

The piercer can also teach you proper aftercare methods to help reduce the risk of getting an infection and rejection.

The cost of smiley piercing by a professional piercer in the United States could be in the range of $30 -$80 depending on the city where you live.

How To Do Smiley Piercing

How To Do Self-Piercing Of Scrumper Frenulum?

Most young people prefer to do the piercing at home without the help of a professional piercer.

You might also like to do self-piercing as your parents may not be available for signing the legal consent paper or you cannot afford the cost of piercing by a professional piercer.

However, the risk of frenulum piercing is very high. A high amount of precision and accuracy is needed to pierce the frenulum in the right area.

If you have highly sensitive skin, you might also require local anesthesia before piercing. You should also use the right type of sterilized needle for piercing.

It is highly recommended that you do not do it yourself.

If you cannot afford to do the piercing in a studio for some reason, you must take the help of your friend or a family member who is knowledgeable and confident of doing the piercing.

Before the piercing, you should procure a suitable piercing needle and aftercare solutions.

You should gather in advance all the information necessary, understand the risks involved, and know, how best to deal with them.

Extreme care should be taken to ensure that the pressure of piercing does not tear away the frenulum; also the piercing should not be at the edge of the frenulum.

If you suspect an infection in the following days after piercing, you should seek medical help from a doctor.

In the case of infection, you should not remove the jewelry by yourself but let the doctor do it if necessary. Usually, removing the jewelry from the infected piercing aggravates the infection.

Does A Smiley Piercing Give You Pain?

Does a smiley piercing hurt? Obviously, it is going to give a little pain but not unbearable pain.

The experience of pain from smiley piercing also varies from person to person. It is usually a very low pain on the pain scales.

The frenulum below the upper lip is very thin and the needle passes through it without giving any pressure. It does not even pain you as much as an ordinary injection.

The feeling of pain will be higher if the piercing gets too close to the gum or lip. If the needling is done in the middle of the frenulum you may not even realize the needle is already through to the other side.

The pain from piercing actually begins if the piercing gets infected or inflamed.

You can easily manage the infection and discomfort from piercing through basic remedies and aftercare treatments for healing the piercing.

Aftercare For Piercing

Good aftercare is necessary for avoiding infection and faster healing of new piercing done on the frenulum.

Here are some of the important aftercare tasks you should perform after the piercing:

  • Follow the aftercare instructions given by the professional piercer;
  • A minimum of four weeks of delicate care should be given to fresh piercing;
  • Practice good oral hygiene;
  • Clean the mouth and gums 4-7 times a day with non-alcoholic mouthwash or distilled saline solution
  • Dilute the mouthwash 50:50 ratio before using;
  • Do not smoke after the piercing till it is fully healed;
  • Do not consume heavy alcoholic drinks;
  • Avoid hot and spicy foods that can irritate the piercing;
  • Do not allow any food particles to get accumulated in the pierced area;
  • Gently rinse the mouth without using force;
  • Use sea salt water to rinse the mouth; dilute ¼ teaspoon non-iodized sea salt in 8 ounces of distilled water to prepare a saline solution.

With good aftercare steps adopted, you can get the smiley piercing perfectly healed within 4 to 6 weeks.

The pain and swelling begin to subside after 2 to 5 days of the piercing. After 2-3 weeks, it will be comfortable for you to do the jewelry changing or cleaning area comfortably without pain.

Risks, Mitigation, And Rejection Of Smiley Piercing

Scrumper piercings do have high potential risks of rejection and mitigation, especially if the frenulum is quite thin and small. It is better to avoid piercing if your frenulum is not sufficiently large and strong.

The piercing of the frenulum can mitigate anytime because of its delicate nature. The jewelry you wear through the piercing can easily slip to one side and badly hurt the frenulum if no proper care is given.

Smiley piercing is more of a short-term piercing; keeping the jewelry attached to the frenulum for a long period can cause gum recession or wear out of tooth enamel.

You have to pay special care and attention while you are brushing your teeth or while biting hard with incisors (front teeth).

It is important to ensure excellent oral hygiene to avoid any possible infections in the pierced area.

When you are wearing the captive bead rings (CBR) the ball of the ring might rub against your teeth and gum which leads to a gradual erosion of teeth and gum. If the CRB jewelry is hurting the teeth and gums, you should stop wearing them forever.

The piercing on the frenulum can become infected at any point in time. Poor mouth hygiene or careless brushing can cause infection even in a fully healed piercing. 

The complications from body piercing are many. The piercing is infected if symptoms like throbbing pain, redness, swelling, discharge of pus, or extreme tenderness exist in the pierced areas. In such a situation, you should immediately seek medical intervention for getting rid of the infection.

How To Manage Smiley Piercing Infection?

Smiley piercing has more risks than your typical piercing simply because of the location. Aside from the possible infection, gum and tooth enamel damage are also possible risks as jewelry could hurt your teeth and gums.

To prevent infection or heal the infected piercing:

  • Clean your mouth with saline solution or sea salt 2-3 times a day.
  • Thoroughly rinse and flush your mouth with water after eating.
  • Carefully brush your teeth twice a day.
  • For the first couple of days do less talking and hard chewing.
  • Use an alcohol-free mouthwash.
  • Remove the jewelry in case of severe infection.
  • Use prescription topical antibiotics

Anti-Smiley Piercing

Anti-smiley piercing is another name given to frowny piercing.

It is done on the frenulum between the gum and lower lip. The anti-smiley piercing is expected to be visible only when the wearer frowns; just the opposite of smiling.

Anti-smiley piercing is not so popular since it is discreet. Mostly a person who loves to keep their body modification secret prefers to do the anti-smiley piercing.

This piercing is riskier as the frenulum of the lower lip is more prone to infection caused by easy deposits of food particles there.

The lower lip experiences more exertions than the upper lip while talking or chewing.  Thus wearing the jewelry in the frenulum of the lower lip can erode the gums and teeth faster.

Smiley Piercing Jewelry

When it comes to smiley piercing jewelry you have a good amount of options to choose from.

The most commonly used starter size is a small gauge (16-18) of the Captive Bead Ring (CBR) or a Horseshoe Barbell. The diameter of the ring should not exceed more than half an inch. A small gauge size is ideal for first-time use in the fresh piercing.

Different Types Of Smiley Piercing Jewelry

After 4 to 7 weeks of piercing, you can change the old jewelry and wear new jewelry if you wish so.

While wearing the smiley piercing jewelry, it is important to be very attentive to the right placing of the jewelry. The barbells of the jewelry should not rub against the gum or teeth.

Secondly, the jewelry should be in the right size in proportion to your teeth and lip. Ideally, the jewelry must be visible when you smile.

Lastly, the jewelry should be made of materials that do not irritate your gum and lips; titanium or copper are the best metals. You can also wear smiley piercing jewelry made of gold, platinum, or silver.

Barbells and studs are other types of jewelry you can wear instead of the CBR.

Changing The Jewelry After Piercing

It takes about 4-8 weeks for the frenulum piercing to get fully healed. You change the jewelry once the piercing is fully healed. Here are some tips for changing piercing jewelry:

  • Do not change jewelry before the healing of the piercing as it might cause pain, swelling, or infection.
  • Always wash your hands with antibacterial soap/lotion before you touch the jewelry and piercing;
  • New jewelry must be inserted immediately after you remove the old one;
  • It is better to use the new jewelry in the same gauge as the old one;
  • It is better to take the help of the piercer when you are changing the jewelry for the first time.