Smiley and Frowny Piercings 101

Smiley and Frowny Piercings 101

Dahlia (Joker) Piercing 101 Reading Smiley and Frowny Piercings 101 4 minutes Next Aftercare – A Few Tips

     For most modified folks, any cool new piercing is sure to make you smile. But what about a smiley piercing? Or, for that matter, what about a frowny piercing? What are they? Are they safe? Are they viable in the long term or are they “long term temporary” piercings? Let’s take a moment to discuss these piercings – the ups, the downs, and what they actually are.

     If you’ve ever looked at the inside of your lip in the mirror (and we all have so don’t be embarrassed) you’ve seen the tiny piece of skin at the base that connects it to your gums. It is called the frenulum. A smiley piercing goes through the frenulum of your upper lip, making it largely only visible when one smiles. A frowny piercing goes through the frenulum of the lower lip and is presumably named because it’s an upside-down smiley. (The smiley piercing is also sometimes called a “scrumper” but let’s try to keep this simple.) They both require circular jewelry, with a horseshoe being the most commonly seen. However, a captive bead ring can also be utilized. That being said, a captive bead ring isn’t appropriate because the shape of the bead can damage teeth. A fixed bead ring, captive disc ring, or seamless ring would be more appropriate for this piercing, but none of these are completely without risk.

     If you’ve read more than two of these blogs, you know where this one is about to go: dental issues. Any piercing that involves jewelry having direct contact with your teeth or gums is going to eventually result in dental issues. That can be receding gums or chipped teeth, but the constant contact of metal on mouth is a fight that will inevitably end with the mouth losing. Smiley and frowny piercings are no different and actually sit almost directly against the teeth. (The only oral piercing that won’t mess with your mouth is a vertical lip piercing because it never enters the oral cavity.) So that is a definite, and potentially both painful and expensive, downside of these piercings.

     Another downside of these piercings is how thin the tissue being pierced is. The frenulum is tough but it’s not thick at all. While these piercings are not exposed and are tucked well away within the mouth, it doesn’t take very much force to tear them out. Someone with either of these piercings would have to be very careful while eating or brushing their teeth to make sure they are not snagged on anything. And because of the thinness of the frenulum and the sheer amount of motion that the piercing experiences, there is always the risk of rejection. This can lead to permanent damage to the frenulum.

     Being located in the mouth also means that these piercings are prone to developing tartar buildup on the jewelry itself. This is not only unsightly but can irritate the fistula as well.

    Many piercers are no longer performing these piercings because of the dental issues they tend to cause. Much like the infamous “snake eyes” piercing, they simply are not safe and piercers who continue to perform them while knowing the risks are ethically questionable at best. A quality piercer is one who would rather turn down your money than perform a piercing that will harm your body.  As cute as they may look, smiley and frowny piercings are a short-term pleasure that bring long term problems. Your teeth are a lifetime investment and not worth sacrificing for these. Yes, they look neat, but not neat enough to sacrifice your teeth for. There are few piercings that we ever strongly discourage people from getting but these are something you should avoid. Or, if you absolutely have to have them, start preparing for an inevitable trip to the dentist to deal with the aftermath.

Happy piercing and stay safe.