A “smiley” is a piercing of the thin strip of flesh that attaches the center of the upper lip to the gum plate. This piece of flesh is called the upper lip frenulum, and the piercing itself is consequentially also known as “lip frenulum piercing” or alternatively “scrumper piercing.”
Like most oral piercings, the smiley is performed with a hollow needle after the inside of the mouth has been properly disinfected. For this type of piercing especially, using a professional piercer is essential to prevent injury to the soft tissues of the lip or gums. Aftercare is much the same as that of tongue and lip piercings and will often include rinses with special mouthwash or sea salt solution. Due to its placement in a very high-motion area, this particular piercing may require extra vigilance to lower the risk of migration or rejection.
For the most part, smiley piercings will be worn with circular barbells (either BCRs or horseshoes), but occasionally a small curved barbell can be seen. Of course, the wearer may have to pull back their upper lip for you to know it’s there at all, a definite plus for those who enjoy having unnoticeable or “secret” piercings.
The smiley has become more popular in recent years, but as a fairly modern piercing (first noticed in the 1990s after publication in a magazine) there are some areas where lip frenulum piercing is virtually unknown, or at least very rare. It also falls under a variety of names (scrumper, rooster, glicker) depending on locale, making it one of the coolest piercings you may have never heard of.