The Complete Guide to Smiley Piercings

Have you ever thought of getting a super unique piercing that would shock people the moment they saw it? If so, you’ll want something mind-blowing like a Frenulum piercing, which most people know as smiley piercings.

This piercing appears right between the skin strip that links to the gum line and upper lip. As painful as this piercing may sound, the thought of getting one awakens many people’s daring and adventurous side.

But it isn’t as easy as simply visiting a piercing artist and getting a smiley piercing. There are some things you should know before going for a piercing, especially one as invasive as a frenulum piercing.

This guide has everything you need to know about the particular style. From the pain level to the maintenance of smiley piercings, you can learn everything you need to know!

What is a Smiley Piercing?

A smiley piercing is also known as the Frenulum piercing, as it is positioned is right on the flap of small thin tissue that joins your upper lip and gum together. As you might expect, this is a very sensitive area of your mouth.

Still unsure of the area I’m describing? Try this – Close your lips and then stick your tongue out upwards right in front of your teeth.

Once you do this, you will feel a delicate thin line running between your upper lips and gums. This is an oral piercing, and it’s very discreet.

It means people can only see your piercing when you smile. This explains the name ‘Smiley Piercing.’

What Types Are There?

The smiley piercing procedure is very straightforward. There’s only one way that it can be completed. Once you have the piercing and it has healed, there are several different types of jewelry that you can wear to show off your work.

Some of the most common types of jewelry for smiley piercings are the curved barbell, horseshoe barbell, captive bead ring, and circular barbell. All of these jewelry types look amazing on smiley piercings; you can choose one according to your preference and comfortability.

The most trending and common smiley piercing jewelry is the captive bead ring.

How Long Do They Take to Heal?

Even though smiley piercings have a small position of the inner skin, the healing time is rather long. After all, the frenulum is a very delicate part of the mouth. It typically takes around 4-12 weeks for your Frenulum piercing to heal; however, this depends on how well you take care of it.

Your mouth contains a considerable amount of bacteria due to the food you eat, so this piercing is at a higher risk of infection than others. To avoid any further complications and get through the healing process quickly, you have to take cleaning your piercing seriously to help avoid any infections which would delay healing.

Immediately after getting your piercing, it’s highly liking that your piercing will swell due to the piercing process. Expect the area to be swollen and tender for a few days.

When Can You Change Your Piercing?

Once you get a smiley piercing, you won’t be able to change if for about  three months. This is necessary for the healing process to complete. Like all piercings, the healing time will vary from one person to the next, but it’s important to wait the full 90 days to ensure it’s properly healed. You can always reach out to your piercer to determine when it is safe to change to your new jewelry.

You can change your septum piercing at home, but I always recommend going to your piercer and letting them do it for the first time. They will be able to help walk you through the process to ensure you do it properly. They will also be able to visually see if you are healed enough to change it.

Once you do change your piercing, always make sure you wash and clean your mouth to help prevent an infection.

What is Aftercare Like?

Aftercare is one of the most important steps of your smiley piercing. This will help determine if your immune system hasn’t rejected the piercing and prevents any sudden complications from occurring.

The aftercare process is quite simple; it just involves certain steps that you have to carry out regularly, at least for the first three months of your smiley piercing.

The first most important aftercare instruction involves rinsing your mouth with a saline solution. You must do this at least twice or thrice a day. When rinsing your mouth, make sure it hits the Frenulum area as this is the main spot that needs washing.

You can use a sea salt rinse as well, as this is more effective. Besides rinsing your mouth, you must also maintain oral hygiene and keep your mouth as bacteria-free as possible.

The next important aftercare rule is to avoid touching your healing piercing.

Sometimes, it gets a bit frustrating as you have an urge to touch and feel your new piercing constantly, and especially since the frenulum is such a delicate spot, you want to keep adjusting it.

But, if you do this, you might infect the piercing and may also go through a piercing rejection from moving it too much, which is quite painful.

Make sure to keep your tongue far away from your piercing, as you’re most likely to fidget the new piercing with your tongue. This could cause the piercing to shift, which may lead to rejection. It’s just a few weeks of leaving it alone and allowing it to heal; after that, you can touch it as many times as you want.

The other thing you should avoid after getting a new smiley piercing is kissing. Kissing someone could cause a transfer of harmful bacteria, which could result in further complications. The same applies to eating.

You have to pay attention to what you eat and how you eat it as you don’t want anything irritating your smiley piercing. It’s best to stick to soft foods for a few weeks, and then you can gradually shift to other types of snacking once you get comfortable with your piercing.

How Are These Piercings Done?

Once you go for a piercing appointment, the piercer will first examine your frenulum to see if it’s thick enough to bear a piercing. If you have a thin Frenulum, you won’t be able to go through with the procedure. Getting a piercing on a thin Frenulum may lead to further complications.

To avoid unnecessary complications and pain, don’t get one if your frenulum is not of the desired size. Rather, choose another type of piercing that would be safer.

Of course, if your piercing artist agrees that you have an adequate piercing, he/she will start off by giving an antibacterial rinse for your mouth.

Next, the piercer will show you the sterilized needle they will use to create a piercing hole through your frenulum. To make the hole properly, they will hold back your upper lip to easily create a hole through the frenulum.

It will take around 3-5 seconds for the needle to create an adequate piercing hole. After this, the piercer will insert your smiley piercing jewelry into the hole.

After you’re through with the main step of the piercing process, your piercer will guide you on a few aftercare instructions. Make sure to follow them carefully for a speedy healing process.

These instructions will help your smiley piercing settle in properly and prevent it from developing any sudden infections.

Do They Ruin Your Teeth?

A drawback of getting a smiley piercing is that it comes with various risks. Nevertheless, whether or not you face those risks will depend on how well you take care of the piercing. For instance, tooth damage is most likely to occur from a smiley piercing only if you get a captive bead ring for your smiley piercing.

This type of jewelry may cause gum rescission and lead to tooth damage as the ball on the captive bead ring may constantly rub against your teeth and damage the enamel. One way to avoid this is by not getting a captive bead ring. Rather, choose other jewelry options that are safer and look good as well.

How Much Do They Cost?

A smiley piercing will typically cost around $30-$90, but the price range varies across different regions of the world. You may find that in contrast to other sorts of piercings, this one is rather expensive.

But this is because of the placement; the frenulum is a very delicate part of the mouth and requires dexterity and skills for a thorough procedure. You will also have to pay a 20 percent tip according to standard piercing etiquettes.

Of course, this isn’t a complete overview of the costs, as you will have to pay for different products that make up your aftercare routine. Let’s not forget that you need to pay for the jewelry itself as well.

Make sure to consult your piercing artist before booking an appointment, as they will discuss all the costs with you so you can stay prepared.

Every piercer won’t charge the same price, so it’s good to keep a list of different professionals and choose the one that offers a safe procedure and affordable rates.

Where Can You Get a Piercing?

You can get a smiley piercing from a reputable piercing parlor in the area. Some piercing parlors have a professional vibe to it, along with a separate store. Meanwhile, others are small kiosks in shopping centers.

Before going for your smiley piercing appointment, you must first research the piercing studios around you. Doing your homework on the best available services helps you choose the best services.

After selecting a bunch of reliable studios, it’s time to shortlist the best one according to the piercer’s skills and if they use properly sterilized instruments. You can also ask others around you for the experience they have had with a particular piercing parlor.

How Painful Are Smiley Piercings?

The pain level for smiley piercings is the same as any other piercing. But before you grow overconfident, remember that the amount of pain depends on your overall tolerance. If you have a high tolerance, you’re most likely to go through the process without fainting. In contrast, a person with low pain tolerance may feel more pain, even if the process only lasts about a minute.

Fortunately, the frenulum is a small thin strip of the skin, so it only takes a few seconds for the needle to pass through, reducing the amount of pain you experience.

Unlike other piercings, smiley piercings don’t require much pressure. This is thanks to the thin skin, which makes smiley piercings less painful in contrast to other piercings.

The level of pain you feel also depends on the piercing technique. If you choose a piercing artist with extensive skills and training, you are less likely to feel any unnecessary pain.

It is normal to feel anxious and nervous before your piercing appointment. But remember that high-stress levels can cause pain during the process. Try your best to stay calm, and it’s just a few seconds of pain that results in a beautiful, unique piercing.

How Do You Clean Them?

Cleaning your smiley piercing is part of the aftercare steps that you have to effectively carry out to prevent any complications that could reject your piercing. There is no unique method of cleaning your smiley piercing. All you have to do is rinse your mouth properly with sea salt and hot water mixture twice or thrice a day.

When rinsing your mouth, swish the mixture in a way that it reaches your frenulum. Making a rinse mixture is quite simple. All you need is one-fourth of a teaspoon of sea salt and a cup of warm water.

Mix the sea salt mixture into the water and use it to rinse your mouth. Rinse for a few minutes to clean the entire mouth effectively, and then spit it out.

Some people are comfortable using a piercing aftercare spray, which you can easily get from any store. This spray has all the healing properties and is quite effective. However, you can stick to the mixture if you find that it’s convenient.

While doing this, you must also maintain your regular oral hygiene practices, such as brushing your teeth twice a day. This helps the risk of a cavity and other bacterial infections that could occur in your mouth after a piercing.

If you continue to follow these cleaning steps for a whole month, you will notice a faster healing process. However, you must continue cleaning your piercing until your piercing artist feels like your smiley piercing has healed successfully.

How Long Does It Take a Smiley Piercing To Close Up?

If you have to remove your smiley piercing for some medical reason or any other issue, the piercing is most likely to close up within a few hours. However, this depends from person to person.

The mouth is one of the fastest healing parts of the body, so as soon as you remove the piercing, your immune system will start working towards closing the piercing. It takes a maximum of 7 hours for some people, and it may take less or more for some.

If you’re taking out your piercing, make sure not to leave your piercing open for more than 7 hours. This helps you avoid the hassle of having to get another piercing, which may be more painful. Before doing any such thing, consult your piercer first. They can give you a better opinion while looking at your existing smiley piercing.

What Should You Do If Your Piercing Gets Ripped Out?

Getting your smiley piercing ripped out is one can be painful and stressful, and it’s something you should avoid by practicing proper aftercare. Your frenulum piercing can rip out by things as simple as eating the wrong thing or improper cleaning. If your smiley piercing rips out, you must instantly contact your piercer.

After examining the piercing rip out, your piercer will be able to tell you if your frenulum has suffered from extensive or minor damage. If it is only a minor tear, your piercer can re-pierce, but that’s not for sure.

Your piercing is most likely to rip out easily if you have a very thin Frenulum. This is the reason why piercing artists don’t agree to pierce very thin Frenulums.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Get a Smiley Piercing?

The minimum age requirement to get a smiley piercing is 18 years, as a piercer won’t cater to anyone below that age. If they do, they are committing a crime. Every country has different age limits, but 18 is the standard age requirement, as it seems unreasonable to give piercings to minors.

If you’re 18 and above, you don’t have to worry about the age limit, as a smiley piercing would look great on anyone. After all, it depends on how well you carry it with confidence and a sassy smile.

How Do You Hide a Smiley Piercing?

There are many reasons you would want to hide a smiley piercing. One of the most common reasons is to avoid showing it in professional environments. Besides that, you probably want to make a good first impression and don’t want someone to see it at the first meeting.

Here, the ideal option would be to remove your piercing. However, this could result in the piercing closing up, as oral piercings tend to close up within days or hours.

The best solution for hiding your smiley piercing is to get a banana bar or horseshoe bar piercing. These smiley piercing jewelry types have a shape that doesn’t show as much when you smile.

For some people, the horseshoe would be a better option depending on the way you smile and how your lip covers the piercing when doing so. The other option would be to not smile at all, but is it even a smiley piercing if you don’t smile?

Why Should I Avoid Getting a Smiley Piercing?

Smiley piercings might be one of the coolest-looking body modifications you get. They are sure to make you feel like a risk-taker. However, you want to make sure you’re not taking any actual risks by getting a piercing. Sometimes, post-piercing issues can get out of hand and make you badly regret getting a smiley piercing in the first place.

There are many infections associated with a smiley piercing, and the most common one is gum damage. If you already have sensitive gums, you must avoid a smiley piercing.

If you fail to get a proper piercing procedure, you may face gum recession.

Sometimes, the jewelry tends to appear slightly higher on your gums and continuously rub against the gums, causing excessive damage. You may also experience enamel damage, which is quite painful.

This happens when the beads on your jewelry rub against or knock on your teeth, causing excessive teeth damage. All of these issues would call for medical help, which is sometimes another stressful and painful process to go through.

You could avoid these infections by maintaining proper aftercare and getting a piercing from a professional. Of course, don’t forget that even if you do everything, the chances of infection still exist.

If you have a very thin Frenulum, you must not even think about getting a smiley piercing. Your piercer will refuse to pierce your frenulum if it’s too thin as this won’t hold the jewelry too well and is an open door for infection. If you plan on getting this piercing as something permanent, then make sure not to leave it open.

Piercings aren’t permanent, and at some point, after a few years, they will close. If you want to try out something unique for a short time, maybe getting a smiley piercing isn’t such a bad decision.

How Do You Know If Your Smiley Piercing is Infected or Rejecting?

Infected smiley piercings are quite common, especially when you don’t take proper care. You may also face a piercing rejection, which could occur due to many reasons, but as mentioned earlier, smiley piercings don’t suit everyone, especially for those who have a very thin Frenulum. Hence, this could lead to your mouth rejecting the smiley piercing.

If your smiley piercing suffers from an infection, you will experience a few symptoms that will signal when it’s time to visit a doctor. Some of the main symptoms you will start to experience are redness beyond the frenulum, swelling, unpleasant odor, yellow or green discharge, and pain in the mouth area.

Migration of your smiley piercing is the biggest piercing rejection indicator.  If you feel like your smiley piercing shifts from its original place, the frenulum, then it’s most likely that your body is rejecting the smiley piercing. This leads to many further complications; hence, the best decision is to remove it instantly.

Other signs of piercing rejection are dislocated jewelry, especially ones that droop or hang. If you’re experiencing a piercing rejection, your jewelry might also displace and look very uneven.

All of these infections and rejection piercing signs are something you shouldn’t take as a joke. The moment you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your piercing artist, and they will guide you on what to do next, preventing further complications.

In most cases, especially when the body starts rejecting your smiley piercing, you may have to remove it. However, if the infection isn’t too bad, you can continue with your aftercare routine and maybe make the redness and swelling better. If these symptoms worsen with time, you will surely have to get your piercing removed even after the aftercare routine.

How Do You Treat an Infected Smiley Piercing?

If you’re experiencing initial symptoms such as redness or swelling, then it’s a big indicator of infection. Before you start panicking, there are a few things you can do to lessen the infection. The first thing that you must continue doing is rinsing your mouth with a saline or sea salt solution.

Gargle with this solution in a way that it focuses more on the area of the piercing. It would help if you also rinse your mouth after every time you eat something.

Make sure to brush your teeth twice a day as well, preferably with bubblegum flavored toothpaste, as mint isn’t the best option when brushing your teeth while having a piercing, especially when you’re close to an infection.

If the symptoms start to worsen and become more painful, then you must consult a professional. There could be a chance that you’re facing a piercing rejection from your body, and this calls for the removal of your piercing. You can do this by yourself, but it’s best to go to a professional to prevent any further complications.

You can practice a few other things every day that might help curb the infection or prevent it from catching it in the first place. These practices involve avoiding smoking, drinking alcohol, spicy foods, acidic foods, and touching your piercing.

It would be best if you also stayed away from or limit activities that involve using your mouth. This involves playing an instrument, blowing balloons, and especially physical activities such as kissing, as this would allow more bacteria to enter your mouth and worsen your infection.

There is a chance that the jewelry may be causing you an allergic reaction, which has led to an infection. If that’s the case, then you will have to choose a better high-quality jewelry material.


With the help of this smiley piercing guide, you can make a better decision as to whether or not you should get one. Take all the time you need to see if getting such a unique piercing is the right decision for you.

If you do end up choosing a smiley piercing, make sure to stick to the aftercare instructions and educate yourself about the risks involved, as this will make your smiley piercing process more fun and smooth.