Labret Piercing - Swelling and Health Issues

Humans have practiced lower lip piercing, known as "labret piercing," since ancient times. The Mayan, Eskimo, Hindu, Chinese and American Indian cultures all have recorded histories of labret piercing, most often in relation to spiritual rituals and rites of passage etc. Today, labret piercing is one of the most popular piercings. Just like any type of piercing, labret piercing take some risks and you should be very careful in order to prevent any infections etc.

Nerve Damage:
Sensory and motor nerves located in the lower lip region can be severed and damaged by piercing. Nerve damage can result in loss of mobility in your facial muscles or loss of feeling to your face, a condition medically referred to as "paresthesia."

The primary risk of a labret, as with all body piercings, is infection. Oral piercings are at greater risk for infection due to the bacteria found in saliva. A rigorous aftercare program, as recommended by a qualified piercer, will minimize this risk. Special considerations for oral piercings include no deep kissing or oral-genital contact until the piercing is healed. Avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes; use a saline gargle instead. Avoid spicy foods during the healing process.

Swelling happens when the piercing hole is fresh, so it takes some time for the piercing to heal. Simply follow the aftercare advices given by your piercing artist and avoid any kind of possible infection.

In the first two weeks, it's very important to wear a titanium piercing jewelry. Titanium is the most common material, especially for new, fresh piercings. So, ask your piercing artist for an advice and carefully choose your jewel for the first two weeks. This is very important in order to avoid any possible risks. Don't change the jewel in the first two or even three weeks, during the healing time.

Gum Recession
Labret jewelry can rub against and erode gum tissue over time, causing the gums to recede and expose the roots of the front teeth. This leaves the teeth vulnerable to damage and loss. Gum damage is irreversible without expensive and painful surgery. Smoking greatly increases the risk of gum damage.

Tooth Damage
Labret jewelry can also rub on the tooth enamel itself, weakening the surface of the tooth and making it more susceptible to cracking, chipping and cavities. Like gum damage, damage to the teeth is irreversible; tooth enamel does not regenerate. Only surgery can correct this issue.

Scars and Permanent Holes:
If you choose to remove your labret piercing at some point, chances are high that a small spot or dent will remain once the hole has closed up. If the labret hole was stretched, it could leave a permanent hole once the jewelry is removed. Worse, this hole will allow saliva to leak out of the mouth. Holes like this may be corrected with cosmetic surgery.

Bloodborne Disease
Take care to ensure the your piercing is done under strictly sterile conditions. Improper sterilization of piercing instruments can introduce bacteria and viruses into your bloodstream. "The New York Times" notes that contaminated piercing equipment can spread hepatitis and HIV, as well as other diseases.

There is the risk of the labret jewelry becoming snagged on some external object and tearing either through the skin, or upwards through the lip. This can result in disfiguring scars to the face.

Cleaning Tips
Antibacterial soap
There were a lot of discussions about the antibacterial soaps in the past years, and we came to realize that neither Betadine nor Antibacterial Soap is good for healing a fresh piercing as you're attempting to heal the skin within the hole and the chemicals are far too harsh and actually kill off skin cells rather than help with healing. This kind of soaps are good for your personal hygiene. Wash your hands every time you change your piercing jeweler.

Do Not use alcohol-that could sting if it gets too close to the new piercing and is far too harsh for a fresh piercing. And removing the unattractive coloration isn't just an aesthetic issue. Iodine should be removed from the skin after the piercing is done to prevent any irritation.

The most appropriate age to have a piercing done is 16+, because the body is still growing and forming.
The jewelry is extremely important especially for the first piercing. The preferable metal is titanium, as this one is the most convenient and does not contain toxic substances, which reduces the chances of allergies, suppuration and infections. Normally, it is essential that the piercing has the appropriate size for the body spot where it is going to be placed.