Lip Piercing

Pierced couple

About Lip Piercing

Any piercing done in the soft tissue of the lips or in the immediate area around them is generally referred to as a lip piercing, although each placement goes by its own descriptive name.

Step One

The first step to performing a lip piercing is to carefully sterilize and mark the exact point of entry, both on the outside and inside of the lip. This is necessary to avoid having your jewelry rub against your teeth and gums. It also helps your piercer avoid hitting and damaging a nerve.

Step Two

Next, your piercing professional will measure the thickness of your lips between the two marked points in order to determine the size of lip jewelry you'll need. Your piercer will actually choose a size that is larger than you will ultimately need because your lip will be swollen during the initial healing period. Later, when the swelling subsides, you'll need to be re-sized and have your jewelry changed.

Step Three

Once you're marked and measured, it's time to pierce. Your piercer attaches a surgical clamp to your lip in order to have better control of this soft tissue. With the clamp, your lip is pulled away from your gums. Then, a surgical needle is used to create the actual piercing, and your piercer inserts your initial body jewelry.

Step Four

Your piercer cleans the site, explains proper aftercare procedures, and you're finished!

Risks to Teeth and Gums

As mentioned earlier, the placement of your piercing is the key to avoiding damage to your teeth and gums. Jewelry that rubs against your teeth can wear away the enamel, leaving your teeth open to decay. Larger jewelry may actually crack the teeth, so proper placement is important.

The soft tissue of your gums is also at risk. Trauma can lead to a gum infection that, if left unchecked, can actually cause your teeth to loosen as the bone beneath deteriorates.

Popular Piercings

There are many ways to pierce a lip. Let's examine a few of the most popular.

Lip Piercing

Lip piercing

This piercing is completely in the darker pink portion of the lip, and doesn't include any of the mouth tissue above or below.Because the typical ring-style of jewelry worn in this type of piercing doesn't usually come into contact with the teeth or gums, it's generally considered one of the safer styles of lip piercing to get. However, you will still need to be careful not to tear the soft tissue.


This is both a style of piercing and the name of the jewelry that goes in it.A labret is a type of stud, but the backing is a smooth disc instead of a scratchy post and clasp. This cuts down on wear to the gums and tooth enamel, but it can still cause damage if the piercing isn't carefully placed. The outer portion of the stud typically is a bead or ball but can also feature a spike or other design.

Vertical Labret

This is a highly popular variation of the labret piercing. The top portion of the piercing passes directly through the lower lip, and the bottom portion passes back out through the skin just below the lip, so both ends are visible.A curved, double-ball labret is used in this lip piercing.

Philtrum Piercing

This piercing involves placing a labret in the center of the skin above the upper lip between the two vertical lines, otherwise known as the philtrum.

Combination Piercings

Sometimes piecing are done in sets.

Spider Bites are a set of three piercings done in the lower lip.

Snake Bites are a pair of piercings set side-by-side in the lower lip.

Jewelry Styles

Assorted piercing jewelry

The style of jewelry you choose will depend a lot on the type of piercing you get.

Your choices include:

  • Lip Rings
  • Labrets
  • Barbells


You can expect your new piercing to take approximately four to six weeks to heal, and you will need to take special care of the area during this period.Although it might seem that a lip piercing would be more prone to infection, in fact, the opposite is true. Saliva is nature's mouthwash, containing powerful antibacterial components that break down anaerobic bacteria and wash it away.

You will still need to follow the basic cleansing and care tips listed below, but your saliva will actually be on the job 24/7, trying to remove infectious bacteria from the inner portion of your piercing.

It's also not unusual during this period to experience an increase in saliva until your body adapts to your new jewelry.


First of all, be very careful when brushing your teeth so you don't catch your new jewelry, and always follow your brushing with a piercing cleansing so bacteria from your teeth doesn't get left behind in the opening.

  • Dip a cotton ball in saline and saturate the outer portion of the piercing two to three times each day.
  • Rinse the inner side of the piercing with diluted, non-alcoholic mouthwash, or a solution of 1/8 teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water.


  • Kissing
  • Other types of oral affection
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Sleeping on your face
  • Excessive fiddling with your new jewelry


Because of the possible complications involved, any lip piercing should only be performed by a professional piercer. When you consider that it's your face at risk, it's well worth the price you'll pay for your piercer's training and expertise.

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Lip Piercing