Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cheek Piercings 101!

The day I had them done

Someone asked me in my FormSpring if I could make a post on my cheek piercings and all that jazz because they're quite the complicated piercing and they were looking to have theirs done. First and foremost, let me just say, this is a piercing you should REALLY think about before having it done. You should think about any and every piercing beforehand, but the common misconception with these are that you can just take them out and all will go back to normal. They won't. Cheek piercings are something that more likely than not, you will be living with for the rest of your life (much like a tattoo!) so think long and hard, and research, research, research!

I've wanted cheek piercings for years. I've always thought they were so super cute and I loved the thought of having dimples (I had one... but it was a silly little thing). So in this little entry I'm going to go through the most commonly asked questions I get and then give you a few links to read up on!

Q #1: Do those hurt?
A: No. Neither the piercings nor the aftermath (currently) hurt. I was actually shocked at how painless the actual procedure was. I was very very nervous but the needles went straight through and that was that. However, the next few hours/days following the piercings were a bit rough. Mainly because my face was swollen and it was hard to eat/smile/laugh. That soon faded but for about a week it hurt pretty bad to laugh hysterically. And I really like to laugh. But that too went away.

Q #2: Do you ever bite down on the balls on the inside?
A: Sometimes. I'll catch myself just grazing them but I've never done a full CHOMP on one. It's important to have the balls on the inside (as opposed to a flat-back labret like on monroes) because the moist tissue in your mouth regenerates so quickly... if the flat back is against your cheek, you can almost guarantee that your cheek will grow over the flat back and you'll need to cut it out. I just find it better to forgo that all together and have a ball. Right now my balls are steel but I'll be trading them out for acrylics to minimize the chances of tooth chipping in the future. [Edit 10/16/10: It's 6 months later and I currently have gem discs on the inside. They're much less cumbersome than balls, and I've never once bit down on them. They don't ding on my teeth either. I highly recommend them. They can be purchased at BodyArtForms.com]

Q #3: What size bars do you have?
A: I'm still wearing the ones I had from day one, the 3/4" bars. I could size down to 5/8" or to 1/2" but I have yet to do so. Mainly because the balls are VERY tricky and I need Mike's help to change them out. That is not fun! [Edit: 10/16/10: I now have 1/2" 14g bars in my cheeks with 3mm steel balls on the outside and 4mm gem discs on the inside. This is the perfect size for my cheeks, but it varies with each person.]

Q #4: Did you have dimples before the piercings?
A: No. I had one little dimple on the left cheek but I decided to go for the piercings because they'd give me dimples.

Q #5: How does a piercing give you an actual dimple?
A: Your cheeks have 18 muscles that run through them... When you put a hole in a muscle, this causes a dip in the tissue, therefore leaving you with a dimple.

Q #6: If you take them out, will you still have a dimple?
A: More than likely, yes. The likelihood is heightened with time.

Q #7: Will they scar?
A: YES! This is the most important thing I think everyone needs to think about before getting them. 99% of the time, you WILL have a scar as a result of these piercings! You need to make sure you can live with this for the rest of your life! Depending on how your body/skin reacts to breaks in tissue will be the defining factor to how noticeable this scar may be. I do know people whose dimples fill out but they still have little dark spots where the holes were.

Q #8: How high maintence are they?
A: VERY! These piercings generally take a very long time to heal (8-10 months usually). You need to keep them clean at all times! I'm lucky because I've always had really great reactions to piercings. I've hardly ever had to do anything to make sure they heal properly. Even with my cheeks, after a while, I did very little, if anything. Mine have been great, but I know so many who have had the exact opposite happen.

Q #9: What about those little lumps that people talk about getting?
A: Those are lymphatic lumps (and/or hypertrophic scars). Caused by trapped lymphatic fluids in your cheeks. They develop pockets around the piercings. Sometimes you can drain them (either inside your mouth or outside) and they're much like cystic pimples in a way. I've had them. Almost everyone gets them at one point or another with these piercings (but it is so very very possible to avoid them! Keep your hands clean, don't fidget with the jewelry, etc). Some are much larger than others so they're actually visible. I've been fortunate enough in the past to be able to drain mine and they go away. I've never had a full-on infection, thank goodness!

Q #10: Do all piercers do cheek piercings?
A: No. In fact, this is a relatively *new* piercing in the world of body modification (It's been around a very very very long time, yes, but not all piercers are familiar with the muscle structure of the face or how to position them correctly). My suggestion is to go to a piercer who has done this well over a few dozen times, and even better if they have theirs pierced, too! I went to Betty Ann at Icon in Nashville for mine. She had hers pierced for 7 years already so she was great.

That's not even remotely all of the questions I get but you get the idea. I figured 10 was a good number and I'm going to link you to a few great articles on what could happen (and does!) if you're not totally thorough in planning and piercing! Click the following links to read along:

Also, it's a good idea to check out the Cheek Piercing videos on YouTube to see how it's done. This can put your mind at ease when you're thinking about having them done. Hope that was the slightest bit helpful! I think they look super lovely, but at the same time I don't recommend them because they're a pain in the butt to deal with. 


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