A Complete Guide To Everything You Need To Know About Smiley Piercings

If you’re considering getting a unique, eye-catching piecing, then the smiley piercing may very well be the one for you.

A Complete Guide To Everything You Need To Know About Smiley Piercings
Credit: artcem

The smiley piercing, also known as the ‘Frenulum’ piercing, is particularly cool, as it is pierced through the skin strip linking the upper lip and gum-line, causing it to only be revealed when the upper lip moves upwards.

This may seem like a painful piercing, but you might consider it worth it when you think about how much it might add to your desired look or aesthetic, as it can come across as quite daring.

If you consider yourself to be a confident, adventurous person, then there is a good chance that this piercing will appeal to you.

Before getting a smiley piercing, however, you should do your research. This is important, as piercings like this can require specific aftercare, and it’s also good to know what the piercing procedure entails.

Not only this, but you should learn how to keep your piercing clean, as well as how to put it in and take it out. 

Rest assured, as we’ve answered all of this and more within our Complete Guide to Smiley Piercings.

Keep reading if you are interested in getting this type of piercing, as we’ve tried to include absolutely everything that you may need to know. 

A Complete Guide To Everything You Need To Know About Smiley Piercings

What Is A Frenulum Piercing?

Frenulum piercings are more commonly known as ‘smiley piercings’.  Frenulum piercings obtained their name, due to the area of the mouth that they are pierced in.

This is the thin strip of tissue that you can feel by pushing your tongue up between your upper lip and gum. This strip is particularly sensitive, and you should anticipate this if you decide to get this piercing. 

The Frenulum piercing is also known as the smiley piercing, as it only appears when you smile, due to the area it is pierced in.

This makes it a discreet piercing, and this may be desirable for you depending on your background. 

Types Of Smiley Piercings

There are actually a wide variety of different smiley piercings that you can buy, both in-store and online. You may find varieties such as the horseshoe barbell, curved barbell, or captive bead ring. 

The captive bead ring is a particularly popular type of smiley piercing, so there’s a good chance you’ve seen this one already.

Luckily, the different variety of Smiley Piercings that are available will allow you to pick and choose what you would like, to suit your desired aesthetic and style.

It’s important to wait until your piercing has properly healed before changing the jewelry, however.

Until then, you will have to make sure to wear the smiley piercing provided by your piercer in order to ensure that your piercing heals properly, and without any complications. 

How Long Does A Smiley Piercing Take To Heal?

Whilst the skin that is pierced in order to give someone a smiley piercing is very thin, due to the sensitive, delicate area of the mouth that they are pierced in, smiley piercing healing times can be a little longer than you may expect. 

You should be prepared to wait anywhere between one and three months for your smiley piercing to fully heal, however, the speed of this process is greatly affected by how well you take care of your fresh piercing. 

It is important to remember that you use your mouth to eat, and so your mouth contains a higher amount of bacteria than some other areas of your body.

This means that you need to make sure to properly clean your piercing, as improper care may result in an infection, due to the level of bacteria.

If you develop an infection in your piercing, you will find that it takes even longer to heal. Infections can be serious, so preventing your piercing from becoming infected is highly important. 

You should expect your piercing to be a little painful, swollen, and tender when you first get it. This may take a few days to go away. 

When Can Smiley Piercings Be Changed?

It’s really important to stay patient after getting your smiley piercing, as to ensure that it has properly healed, you should wait around three months before swapping your original jewelry out with another style.

It may take slightly less than three months for your piercing to entirely heal, as our bodies all work differently.

Just to be sure that you aren’t compromising your new piercing, however, you should wait at least 90 days before changing your piercing. 

When changing your piercing for the first time, we would recommend that you go back to your piercing shop and ask them to show you how to do it.

This also gives your piercer the opportunity to check on the piercing, which can prevent you from changing your piercing prematurely if it has not healed properly. 

Once again, because your smiley piercing is in your mouth, you should make sure to give your mouth a good wash after changing the piercing, as this will further help to prevent it from getting infected. 

Aftercare For Smiley Piercings

If you intend on getting a smiley piercing, we honestly cannot stress the importance of aftercare enough.

Aftercare is incredibly important, as it helps to ensure that your piercing doesn’t develop an infection or any other complications that may arise otherwise.

Aftercare also provides you with an opportunity to check on your piercing, as well as for signs that your body may have rejected the smiley piercing. 

Whilst this process is important, luckily it isn’t difficult. We’ve included instructions on how to carry out appropriate aftercare for your smiley piercing below!

Credit: mathias.dds
  1. Firstly, you should rinse your mouth out with a saline solution, at least three times a day. This can be purchased, or you can choose to make it. To make saline solution, boil two cups of water on a stovetop for fifteen minutes. Allow the water to cool down to room temperature, before adding a teaspoon of salt. Stir the salt until it is fully dissolved into the water. This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours! You should always make sure that you are swishing the saline solution across your smiley piercing when doing this, as this is the target area.
  1. You should also make sure that you are keeping your teeth clean and maintaining your oral health in order to prevent any bacteria from infecting your piercing. Keeping your mouth free of bacteria is one of the most important steps in the aftercare process.
  1. Don’t touch your piercing! Whilst getting a new piercing can be exciting and give you the urge to keep touching it, you should avoid doing this as much as possible. This is because by touching your piercing, you are also potentially introducing bacteria that you may have on your fingers to the piercing.
  2. You may also cause your body to reject the piercing if you move it too much, which is definitely worth avoiding, based on how painful it can be. 
  1. Don’t flick your piercing! After getting a smiley piercing, the second biggest urge you may have after touching it with your finger is to flick it with your tongue. Whilst your tongue may be a lot different from your finger, fidgeting with your piercing can lead it to move in your mouth, which can potentially trigger rejection.
  2. This means that you have to do your best to resist adjusting it, as it can lead to rejection whether you use your tongue to move it or your finger.
  1. Try not to kiss too much – or at all. Whilst this can be difficult to do depending on your circumstances, it’s always best to refrain from kissing anyone after getting your smiley piercing. This is because kissing can also introduce harmful bacteria to your piercing.
  1. Be careful when you are eating. You should be careful when making decisions about what to eat after getting a smiley piercing, as certain foods may irritate your piercing, leading to complications and potential infection. Avoid hard or sticky foods, as soft foods are much better for the first few weeks after you have gotten your piercing.
  2. Don’t worry though, you don’t have to do this for too long – after a few weeks, you can start to incorporate some more normal foods into your diet.

You should make sure that you are providing your piercing with appropriate aftercare for at least three months after first getting your smiley piercing.

What Does The Smiley Piercing Process Entail?

Before getting a smiley piercing, the person piercing you will first want to take a look at your frenulum.

This is because if your frenulum is too thin, you may not be a good candidate for a smiley piercing, as your frenulum needs to be thick enough to actually support the piercing. 

If your frenulum is too thin, your piercer will refuse to pierce you.

Whilst this may be frustrating, this is a sign of a good piercer. Piercing frenulums that are too thin can end badly, with painful results.

If you can’t get a frenulum piercing, don’t worry – there are plenty of other piercings out there that are sure to suit your style.

You should remember that we are piercing our bodies, and so the safety of that piercing is a big priority. 

If your frenulum is, in fact, the desired size, then we’ve got some good news for you – you can get a smiley piercing! 

The first thing that your piercer will do if you have an eligible frenulum for a smiley piercing, is ask you to rinse your mouth.

They will provide you with an antibacterial mouthwash to do this. 

After they have ensured that your mouth is thoroughly rinsed and bacteria-free, your piercer will gather their equipment together.

You should always ensure that your piercer is using sterilized equipment, as piercing with unsterilized needles is unsafe.

Your piercer should show you the sterilized needle that they will be using.

This is what they will use in order to make the hole for the piercing. 

In order to make sure that they have enough room to work and to see everything, your piercer will hold your upper lip back before using the needle to make the hole.

After they have made the hole, they will remove the needle and replace it with the appropriate smiley piercing jewelry. 

Now that your smiley piercing is successfully in place, you have completed the piercing process.

If you have a good piercer, they will also talk you through everything you need to know about the aftercare of your piercing.

They may even provide you with saline solution, which saves you the effort of buying or making your own.

It is super important to pay close attention to everything that your piercer says, as these aftercare instructions are absolutely integral when it comes to the prevention of infection and piercing rejection. 

If you follow all of the instructions that your piercer gives you, the risks of your smiley piercing getting infected should be considerably lower. 

Will A Smiley Piercing Ruin My Teeth?

Smiley piercings do, unfortunately, come with some risks.

As with all piercings, however, your likelihood of facing those risks is determined by how much time and effort that you put into taking care of your smiley piercing. 

If you are worried about tooth damage, you should look out for captive bead rings – if you choose to use these for your piercing, you may find that you develop recessed gums.

Another downside of this type of piercing is that the captive bead ring can damage the enamel of your teeth, as it might rub at it.

If you are worried about this happening to your teeth, it may be a good idea to just consider avoiding using captive bead rings altogether.

Whilst captive bead rings look nice, there are many other types of frenulum jewelry that you can buy that look just as nice. 

You should make sure to pay attention to the teeth directly behind your smiley piercing and keep an eye out for any potential damage.

It is also incredibly important that you keep good care of your teeth, making sure to brush and floss them (whilst being careful of your piercing). 

How Much Does It Cost To Get A Smiley Piercing?

This is a difficult question to answer, as the prices of smiley piercings may differ quite drastically depending on where you live. 

Smiley piercings tend to cost somewhere between thirty and ninety dollars, although this really does depend on where you are getting it pierced. 

There are some other factors that you should take into account with the cost too.

As smiley piercings need to be carried out by someone with the necessary skills to keep their hand steady and manoeuver around the tiny space they have to work in, you may find that getting a smiley piercing costs more than you expected – not to mention the tip that you will probably want to leave after they have provided you with your shiny new piercing.

You will also want to factor in the cost of jewelry, and the additional price of any aftercare products.

Whilst at the piercing studio, you may decide to get another piercing – in which case, factor these costs in too.

If you wanted to purchase any additional jewelry to change your piercing after three months, you may choose to do this whilst you’re here, too. 

We can’t tell you a definitive number, as different piercers charge different prices.

Instead, take the time to ask around with different piercers, as this may allow you to choose between a range of different prices.

We will warn you not to choose someone too inexpensive, as this would suggest that they do not have that much experience.

If you need to, pay the extra cost to ensure that your piercing goes exactly the way you planned it to. 

Before you finalize the booking of your appointment, you should take the time to ask your piercer all about any costs that you can expect to pay, in order to make sure that you’re aware ahead of time.

Where Can I Get A Smiley Piercing Pierced?

You can get your piercing done in any piercing parlor, provided that they offer the service.

Take time to consider your options when choosing a particular piercing parlor, as some will be more professional, and others may be the opposite.

The parlor that you choose is important, as you will be relying on them to have carried output all of the necessary hygiene checks to ensure that your piercing does not become infected. 

You should research your options, and take a look at reviews.

Reviews are particularly important as if a lot of customers report infected piercings, there’s a chance that the parlor does not sterilize its equipment properly, or carry out the necessary hygiene procedures.

This may mean that you also have the same results. If any of your friends have had smiley piercings (or any other piercing, for that matter), you can ask them for their recommendations.

This will also allow you to ask your friend about the piercing process. 

Once you have managed to find a few different parlors, you can narrow your list down by asking each studio whether they have sterilized their equipment properly, as well as what their hygiene practices are.

You can then look at the prices of each studio, and based on your budget, select the best one for you. 

 Are Smiley Piercings Painful?

If you’ve had a piercing before, you don’t have to worry about your smiley piercing being any worse.

The amount of pain that you experience whilst getting your smiley piercing is largely determined by your pain tolerance. 

The frenulum is, luckily, a very thin strip of skin. This means that getting your smiley piercing pierced doesn’t take very long at all.

Some other piercings take longer (and hurt more) as a result of the placement and the thickness of the skin, however, a smiley piercing is a quick and easy process.

Despite this, your pain tolerance may differ from somebody else’s, and you may experience a different level of pain to someone else. 

For example, if you have a high pain threshold, getting your smiley pierced shouldn’t be too bad at all.

However, if you have got a lower pain threshold, you may find that you struggle with the pain.

A massive upside is that this procedure really doesn’t take any time at all, and you will have your shiny new piercing in no time whatsoever!

It’s really important to try to make sure that you stay calm as you get your piercings done, as moving whilst you are getting pierced may disrupt the placement of your piercing or cause unnecessary pain.

For best results, stay as calm as possible, as the pain is genuinely all worth it in the end. 

It may hurt more to get your piercing depending on the particular piercer that you choose to do the job.

Different piercers may use different techniques, or be more rough or gentle with their customers.

If you make sure to select someone with experience as well as the desired training and skills, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. 

How Should I Clean My Smiley Piercing?

As we’ve mentioned, aftercare is especially important within the process of getting a piercing.

If you don’t carry out the necessary aftercare and piercing maintenance, you may find that you develop an infection or cause yourself pain. 

To avoid infections, always clean your piercing.

You can do this by using a saline solution of sea salt and hot water to rinse your piercing – make sure to let it cool down a little first though, otherwise you may burn yourself. This should be done at least three times a day. 

You should always focus your saline solution rinse on the smiley piercing.

This is because this is the object that you are intending to rinse, and it is sandwiched between your teeth and lip, meaning that it may be hard for your saline solution to properly clean the piercing without a specific focus. 

To rinse your mouth out, gargle a small amount of the solution throughout your mouth, making sure to clean your smiley piercing effectively.

When you are satisfied that your mouth (and piercing) are clean, spit the saline solution out into a sink.

You may also choose to use an aftercare spray instead.

This is easy to purchase and includes everything that your body needs in order to help your smiley piercing to heal in exactly the way that you need it to. 

You should continue brushing your teeth twice a day, as well as using mouthwash and flossing, after getting a smiley piercing. In fact, this may even become more important.

This is because your mouth has a lot of bacteria, and forgetting to brush your teeth can lead to a build-up in your mouth that may cause an infection in your piercing.

Taking proper care of your teeth will also help you to lessen your risk of developing cavities, or any number of other mouth-related problems, such as gum disease. 

Try to keep up with this for at least a month, but preferably three, as this will ensure that the healing process has been carried out successfully.

You can ask the piercer that you used whether or not they would consider your piercing fully healed before you start to interfere with it. 

How Soon Will A Smiley Piercing Close Up?

Whenever you remove your piercing jewelry for an extended period, you run the risk of the piercing closing up. 

Everyone’s body works differently, so the time it can take before somebody’s piercing closes up can vary.

Some people’s piercing holes may take up to seven hours before they close up. It can take a longer or less amount of time depending on the person.

Either way, the moment that you remove a piercing, your body will instantly start working to try to close the piercing hole up. This is because nothing is holding it open anymore. 

If you would like to avoid having to replace your piercing, always pay attention to the time it is when you take your piercing out.

This can help you to ensure that you have your jewelry back in place within seven hours, no matter what the reason. 

Believe it or not, your mouth is actually one of the parts of your body that take the shortest amount of time to heal.

This means that if you forget to put your smiley piercing back in, you may find yourself disappointed.

Try to remind yourself to place it back in within seven hours, as your mouth might just win the race against time.

If you can, ask the person that pierced you whether it’s a good idea to take your piercing out or not.

It’s always better to have a professional opinion than risk wasting your money and pain, as well as their hard effort, right?

Can My Smiley Piercing Be Ripped Out?

Yes, you can definitely have your smiley piercing ripped out. This is extremely painful.

You can avoid this happening by making sure that you are engaging in all of the necessary aftercare for your piercing. 

Unfortunately, it’s quite easy to accidentally have your smiley piercing ripped out, especially through incorrectly cleaning your teeth or piercing, or eating something that isn’t good for it. 

If you have had your smiley piercing ripped out, you’re probably in a lot of pain.

Try not to panic, however – the first thing you should do is get in touch with the person that pierced it for you.

Your piercer can take a good look at the part that has ripped out, before re-piercing your frenulum, although it is important to note that depending on the size of the tear on your frenulum, the piercer may be unable to re-pierce. 

To avoid your smiley piercing from being torn out, make sure not to get your frenulum pierced if you have a very thin one.

This increases the chances of tearing, and should not be done if you would like a strong, hardy piercing.

As a result, you will probably have a difficult time trying to convince a professional pierce to pierce your frenulum if you have a thin strip. 

Am I Old Enough To Get A Smiley Piercing?

Legally, you have to be at least eighteen years old before a piercer can pierce your smiley.

This is because it is illegal to pierce a smiley on anyone below the age of eighteen, as people younger than eighteen are minors.

This depends on where you live, of course, but for the most part, you will need to be of at least eighteen years of age.

There is a good chance that your piercer is committing a crime if you allow him to give you a smiley piercing whilst you are below the age of eighteen.

This means that you will have to wait until your eighteenth birthday to get a smiley – however, if you’re above this age, by all means, go ahead! 

Can I Hide My Smiley Piercing?

One of the best aspects of having a smiley piercing is how easy they are to hide away when necessary.

This can come in particularly handy in work and professional environments, where piercings such as these may be frowned upon. 

Understandably, you would probably want to avoid your piercing closing up if you remove it in order to be in one of these environments.

Luckily, there are alternatives to removing your smiley piercing – you can choose to buy special jewelry in order to hide your piercing.

You can get a banana bar or a horseshoe bar piercing to make your piercing a lot more subtle, as these shapes don’t seem to be as prominent as the more typical smiley piercing shapes are. 

You can choose the type of piercing that you decide on based on the way that they look in your mouth when you smile.

Pay attention to the way that your lip naturally covers the piercing whilst looking in the mirror. This may help you to decide which alternative looks best!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Any Risks To Getting A Smiley Piercing?

Whilst smiley piercings look undeniably awesome, you probably want to know all about any of the potential risks you may face if you decide to get this piercing.

If you don’t apply appropriate aftercare, or there just seem to be a lot of unfortunate complications, you may even wish that you’d never gotten the piercing, to begin with. 

Of course, we’d like to avoid this, so we’ll tell you about the risks. 

Risks of getting a smiley piercing include: 

  • Gum recession
  • Gum damage (you should avoid getting your smiley pierced if you have sensitive gums to start with)
  • Enamel damage from the piercing rubbing against your teeth. 
  • Infection (by not carrying out sufficient aftercare)
  • Thin frenulum – inadequate for a smiley piercing

You can avoid a lot of these problems by paying attention to the type of jewelry that you choose and the way it feels against your teeth, as well as making sure that you are following all of the previously discussed aftercare tips and instructions.

Making sure that you are also being pierced by a professional can go a massively long way in ensuring that you don’t run into any problems in the future. 

It’s super important not to get a smiley piercing if you have a thin frenulum. This is because they are easier ripped out, which can cause you a lot of pain, whilst also wasting your money.

Thin frenulums are also more prone to infection, so it’s better to avoid piercing these altogether. 

It’s also important to remember that piercings can close after some time.

Smiley piercings, as with any piercing, run this risk, so keep this in mind if you are the type of person that would be prone to taking a piercing like this out a lot.

If this is the case, you may find that this piercing is not a very good option for you. 

Is My Piercing Infected?

Two of the biggest problems with smiley piercings are their risks of infection and rejection.

These risks are especially prominent if you don’t take care of your piercing in the way you should, such as engaging in a regular aftercare routine.

Piercing rejection can happen because of a thin frenulum or poor upkeep, whereas piercing infections tend to happen more often as a result of improper care or sterilization of equipment. 

Symptoms of infection or rejection:

  • Redness
  • Sore, swollen, or tender
  • Bad smell
  • Discharge (yellow or green)
  • Pain
    Your piercing has moved
  • The jewelry seems to be displaced
  • The piercing looks uneven

If you experience any of these symptoms, there’s a good chance of infection, meaning that you should go to the doctor.

You should take an infection like this seriously, as it can lead to even more serious and urgent problems. 

My Smiley Is Infected, How Do I Treat It?

If your smiley piercing is infected, one of the first things you should do is rinse your mouth with a saline solution.

You should also do this after eating every time, to ensure that you don’t negatively contribute to the infection even more. 

Brush your teeth twice a day, however, it may be an idea to swap your mint toothpaste out for bubblegum in order to make teeth-brushing with an infection more comfortable. 

If you notice that your symptoms get any worse, you should immediately talk to a doctor.

This will help you to understand the cause of your pain, as well as enable the doctor to remove your piercing in a way that isn’t damaging to your mouth, if necessary. 

You should also avoid using your mouth as much as possible whilst you have an infection.

Smoking, alcohol, spicy or acidic food, blowing balloons, kissing, and playing instruments are all examples of activities you should do your best to avoid if you have an infected smiley piercing. 

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this guide has done a lot to help you to decide whether you would like to get a smiley piercing or not.

If you do choose to, please, please, make sure that you engage in all of the aftercare steps previously discussed in order to get the best results possible!

Max Peters