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Upper Lip Frenulum (a.k.a. smiley, scrumper) Piercing

Welcomed to the world of piercing in the 1990s after gaining notice in a magazine publication, the smiley piercing has certainly gained popularity in recent years for quite a few reasons. The smiley is pierced through a thin strip of flesh that attaches the center of the upper lip to the gum plate; this little piece of flesh is called the upper lip frenulum, hence the official name of the piercing. Because of the differences found in size and shape of the upper lip frenulum, some may not have the ideal anatomy for this piercing, so be sure to check with your local piercer to see if the smiley is a possibility for you!

The jewelry that is typically worn in this piercing initially will be 18 gauge (1mm) to 16 gauge (1.2mm) in thickness and includes small diameter circular barbells, such as horseshoe rings, segment rings, or captive rings. Occasionally, a short length curved barbell may be worn in this piercing alternatively.


Some fun facts about the scrumper include that women are statistically more likely to have this piercing than men (let’s change that up, my pierced dudes!) and it is most commonly worn by those in the age range of 18-29. And one of the best perks about the smiley is the fact that this is a GREAT option for those who enjoy “secret” or easy to hide piercings.

The upper lip frenulum piercing takes around 4 to 8 weeks to heal and there are a lot of factors to consider prior to getting the smiley done at your local professional piercing studio. And that professional aspect is key for this type of piercing to prevent the possibility of injury since you’re getting pierced through the soft tissue of the gums. Consequently, this piercing has a risk of rejection and migration since it is pierced through such a tiny piece of flesh. Another risk with the smiley is the wearing down and chipping of teeth since as with all oral piercings we have a tendency to mess around with them in our mouth.

The smiley piercing is performed using a 16 or 18 gauge needle AFTER your mouth has been properly disinfected through the sanitation procedures of your chosen piercer.


As far as aftercare goes, it’s going to be pretty much the same as any other type of oral piercing such as the tongue or lip. Special mouthwash, such as the products offered on our site from H2Ocean, as well as sea salt solution should be used to clean your piercing several times per day, especially after eating food. To help the healing process along, it’s also recommended to stay away from things like smoking and overuse of lip products as well as to be careful while brushing your teeth!


So, if you’ve been looking for the perfect piercing to add a little extra shine to your smile or if you’re looking for the best option for a secret piercing just for you, the smiley piercing is definitely something to consider. Have any of your own piercing experiences with the smiley? Let us know in the comments!

  • A

    Hi Sindi,

    It’s hard to tell without seeing a picture of the actual piercing, but, oral piercings have a tendency to swell. There is a very real possibility that you are swelling a bit and that is causing the “crookedness.”

    If after a week or so the piercing still looks crooked – head back to your piercer (or another pro piercer) and explain your issue with them. I’m sure they’d be happy to help!

    Alley (Body Candy Team) on

  • S

    Hi all, I got my smiley piercing yesterday and it is not centred/aligned. Does it get align after a few days/weeks or there was something wrong with the way I was pierced? Please help coz I’m worried….kinda.

    Sindi on

  • A

    Hi Karina,

    The smiley is a piercing that is prone to migration… Since everyone’s body is different, it might be time to head back to your professional piercer to see what they have to say!

    Alley (Body Candy Team) on

  • K

    Hi! I been having my smiley for over 8 years and all I can say is that I’ve been noticing that my piercing is way lower than it used to be. I had it done at the right spot which shouldn’t be too high or too low, but it looks like through time, it has been getting lower and l feel my skin will rip off or something. Does anyone know what I could do?

    Karina on

  • A

    Hi Kayla,

    This is a question for your dentist or your piercing professional – head in to either for an in-person consult to make sure there isn’t any permanent damage. If so, I would prioritize long-term gum health over your smiley!

    Alley (Body Candy Team) on

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