Piercings to the gum are one of the many ways you can enhance your beauty. The mouth has various places you can add jewelry such as the tongue, the frenulum of the tongue, and the gum.
If you are considering getting a piercing on your gum, here is all you need to know.
What is a gum piercing?
Gum piercings are also called scrumpers or smiley piercings. These piercings are made on the thin tissue connecting the gum to the upper lip. This tissue is also called the frenulum and is located right above the upper front teeth and the upper lip.
The popularity of the gum piercing cannot be denied. However, like all piercings made on the body, it has its own risks which need to be known before you go for it.
How much you will spend on the gum piercing relies on where you come from. To know that, you can simply do a google search of the gum piercing with your location at the end. On average, however, it will range from as low as $30 to as high as $100 or more.
Whatever you do, always go for the most professional piercer available. It does not mean that they are the most expensive. But they should look professional given the delicateness of the piercing. You definitely do not want someone who will do it wrongly and make it a waste of time and money.
The aim of piercing the gum is to insert jewelry in it for beauty purposes. With a smiley piercing, you have many options at your disposal. For a start, you will be given a small gauge horseshoe barbell or a captive bead ring (CBR) of between gauges 16 to 18.
You will be using this kind of jewelry until you are healed enough to use any jewelry you see fit. Jewelry for gum piercings is quite common to find and can be bought in sets if you like.
With the piercing, the main aim is to position the piercing such that the jewelry shows off each time you smile (hence the name smiley piercing). To achieve this, the technician has to be very careful where to position the piercing.
That is why you will need an expert to do the piercing for you. Do not attempt to pierce the gum yourself. Besides the risk of infections, you will run the risk of positioning the piercing poorly such that it rubs against the gum excessively.
Pain from a gum piercing
While the name is ‘gum piercing,’ the gum is not actually punctured or tampered with in any way. The tissue connecting the upper lip the gum is thin and thus has fewer blood vessels and nerve endings than, for example, the lobe of your ear.
The piercing process is thus very fast and you will soon be out of the piercing shop soon after you enter it. Even after the piercing has been made, you will feel the clamp more than the piercing itself.
Having the piercing is the easy part; taking care of it until it heals is the difficult one. Your piercer should detail out all you need to do to keep the piercing free of infections and other complications.
The first thing you need to be aware of is the high level of oral hygiene needed with any piercing in the mouth. Given the moist conditions and the presence of food, it is easy to have an infection if there is any lapse in the oral hygiene.
You should have an alcohol-free mouthwash for this purpose given that alcohol will irritate the piercing and extend the healing period. This mouthwash is to be used to rinse the mouth after every meal and right before going to bed. Each rinsing session should be about half a minute long for the best results.
If normal rinsing has a discoloring effect on the pierced web, you should dilute it with clean drinking water. You can also avoid the discoloration by keeping the number of times you are rinsing to a maximum of 6 each day.
If you can get sea salt, you can use it to make a solution that you should use in the place of the mouthwash. With this solution also, make sure it is not too concentrated to damage your mouth rather than heal it. To prepare the best solution, follow these prompts:
- Take a quarter or eighth of a teaspoon of sea salt that is iodine-free.
- Dissolve in an 8-ounce cup of bottled water or warm distilled water.
Of note is the need to have the sea salt that has no iodine in it. Also, too much salt in the water will have the opposite effect of prolonging the healing process.
If you cannot access both of the liquids above, you can get yourself a bottle of H2Ocean. This is a solution of sea salt that has no alcohol and can thus be used as mouthwash for this specific purpose. You can buy H2Ocean as a sea salt spray or a mouth rinse. It can thus be used for piercings made on the rest of the body such as the ears. In most shops, you can get this liquid for about $10 a bottle (of 8 ounces).
The healing process is often between a month to three months (4 to 12 weeks). Throughout this process, you need to be keeping the perfect oral hygiene to keep off infections from the piercing. While the infections my not be a serious issue, any delay in treating them will lead to their spread to the lips, the gums and even the whole face.
What are the risks involved?
The first aspect you should look out for is the risk of infection. Poor oral hygiene easily leads to infections. To remedy this, you will need to start by ensuring that the technician piercing the web has clean equipment for the job. They should have surgical gloves while doing for safety purposes.
Each time you touch the area with your hands (which should be kept to the minimum), make sure your hands are clean by washing them. Also, keep the oral hygiene at its best by using the preferred mouthwash at least four times each day (after each meal and when going to sleep).
Besides the risk of infection, the CBR you may be wearing could rub its ball on the gums or the teeth. With time, this rubbing effect may irritate your gums and even lead to the recession of the gum. If you notice any discomfort from the jewelry, see your piercer as soon as possible for it to be removed and replaced with something else. It is also a sign that it was not done correctly.
When the ball of the CBR rubs against the enamel of the teeth, it may lead to the tooth enamel wear. This too is something you should watch out for. Any migration of the jewelry should be taken seriously given that it’ll lead to issues if not caught on time. If you notice it rubbing against the teeth or the gums, remove it or go for a curved barbell.
For these reasons, the jewelry for the gum piercing is not to be worn always. This minimizes the times it has to rub against any part of the mouth.
Can you do the piercing yourself?
You may find that this kind of piercing is a bit costly or you are too young to have the piercing. Given that it is also a minor kind of piercing that is done in a few minutes, you may be tempted to do it yourself. The plain and straight answer to that is don’t do it!
First of all, a lot of accuracy is required to find the exact spot to make the piercing. Even technicians experienced in this work make mistakes with it. If you position it wrongly, you will have many issues including pain and irritation besides a receding gum and worn out teeth.
Secondly, you could tear out the frenulum. While the actual piercing is not painful, tearing the frenulum whether it is from the lip or the gum or both is one of the most painful experiences you can think of.
Thirdly, letting a professional do it goes a long way in finding the right position for the piercing, providing the right jewelry and, most importantly, telling you how to take care of the piercing once it has been made.
Even a friend will not be as helpful in this kind of piercing. If there is any possibility that you cannot access a qualified person to do the piercing, simply wait till you get one.
Rejection and Mitigation
With mitigation and rejection, the thinner the tissue pierced, the higher the chances of having the two occurrences. The chances of a piercing migrating are always present hence the need to be careful with it. For piercings made on thin skin such as the frenulum below the upper lip and the one below the tongue, it is advisable to only occasionally wear jewelry in it as too much jewelry will move the hole. You can thus only wear the jewelry on occasions.
There are a few precautions you need to keep in mind when going for this kind of piercing. They include:
- If you are used to putting things in your mouth (sweets, pens, fingers and the like), now is a good time to learn how to keep them out. Sugary foods increase chances of infections while objects in general irritate the piercing.
- Alcohol should be avoided as much as possible. With piercings in the mouth, alcohol will only lengthen the healing period and irritate the piercing.
- Smoking should also be refrained from for a while as you heal. Like alcohol, it increases the healing period and irritates the piercing. And by smoking it means medical herbs, marijuana, cigarettes, e-cigarettes and the rest of them all.
- Kissing should be avoided as much as possible. The exchange of saliva and pressure exerted on the gum will only make it hard for you to heal and easy to get infections. It is the same with oral sex since it leads to the exchange of fluids and contact.
- You need to be a little self-centered and avoid sharing things at this time. Even spoons, plates and just about everything that can lead to an infection.
- Avoid foods that have spices as they will only serve to irritate the piercing and prolong the healing process.
- Keep the talking to the minimal possible. Too much talking will irritate the piercing leading to damage or prolonged healing.
- Refrain from playing with the jewelry whether it is with your tongue or hand. You only increase chances of damage, mitigation, rejection and even infections.
With piercings anywhere on the body, hygiene is the one thing you need to always keep in mind if you want it to heal faster. Otherwise, you will be dealing with a lot of headaches dealing with an infection and taking many months to heal.