Cheek piercings are piercings that are on the cheek, they often give the illusion of dimples. They are sometimes known as “dimple” piercings. These piercings are done in one of two ways, with a labret straight through the cheek or as a surface piercing, with a dermal anchor. These two methods have their own pro’s and con’s. Cheek piercings take a long time to heal and they may always be sensitive piercings because of their location. When getting your cheek pierced with a labret (through the actual cheek) it can take up to a year, or longer to heal. A dermal anchor takes around two months to heal. This piercing is not an easy one and is not for new piercers. Make sure you seek out a reputable piercer that has successful cheek piercings in their portfolio. The more experienced the better!
Surface Anchor Cheek Piercings
The surface anchor does not go through the cheek, it sits inside of the tissue. This means it will not enter the cheek and leave through the other side. The surface anchors heal faster than a labret stud that penetrates through the tissue. They take around two months to heal and they leave less bruising and discoloration after the piercing. They leave minimal scarring, but they don’t always give the appearance of “dimples”. Many people like the aesthetic of dimples and since they sit on the outside of the tissue and leave minimal scarring, they do not give the look of dimples when in or out.
These are very customizable pieces and the tops come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. The biggest problem with surface anchors is that they can be pulled out easily. Since they are on the cheek, they are prone to movement and snagging (especially on clothes, pillows, hands, etc.) If the anchor gets snagged or pulled out of place a reputable piercer can usually put it back into the same place, depending on the damage of having it ripped out.
Labret Stud Dimple Piercings
When having your cheeks pierced with a labret stud the piercer will pierce straight through the cheek. This jewelry has a flat back that will sit on the inside of the cheek, and the other end is interchangeable end that can be customized to your preference. The labret studs take a significantly long time to heal, this could be up to a year due to the location. The cheeks are glands and they are prone to healing problems and flare ups. It is not unusual for some discharge and leaking to happen after getting pierced. The cheeks are extremely thick, and they need to be pierced with a long bar, for the first month the bar will stick out. After about a month, you can downsize the length of the bar, so it does not stick out as much.
It is recommended that you have around three different sizes (in length) for your cheeks because they will flare up and swell at different times. For example, after a month you can have them downsized but a week later or a month later, they might start to swell and need a longer bar again. The bar size will continue to fluctuate. Since this piercing enters in the mouth it runs the risk of getting caught on teeth and causing some chipping, if you are not careful. If the piercing heals enough, you should be able to put in a smaller labret stud that will be snug enough that it will pull away from the teeth. The biggest pro for this type of cheek piercing is its ability to give the “dimple” look. It gives this look when the jewelry is in as well as out.
Getting the Cheeks Pierced
When going to get your cheek piercings the piercer will examine the mouth and locate the parotid ducts (the spot to stay away from). The piercer will mark the best placement for these piercings. The goal is to highlight your existing dimples or give you the appearance of having dimples. It is really important that you are happy with the placement of the piercings because they take a lot of work and effort during the healing period! When you agree on the placement of the piercing the piercer will clean the area with a disinfectant and have you swish with an oral rinse to clean the inside of your mouth. The piercer will then perform the piercing with a 14G or 16G hollow needle. Then the piercer will immediately follow the needle through with the jewelry.
Healing & What to stay away from
The cheek is a high movement area, there is movement when you talk and eat. It is also an area that is prone to pulling and snagging, especially on bed sheets and clothing. This will cause some irritation to the piercing and since it is on the face the irritation will be more noticeable. These piercings may be prone to hypertrophic scaring, raised tissue around the piercing and infections. It important to keep the jewelry as stationary as possible (this will help avoid excess scaring and infection). Try not to spin, rotate, or play with the jewelry. If you have to touch the piercing for any reason always have clean and freshly washed hands.
Dimple Piercing Aftercare Routine
After getting your cheeks pierced go to your local grocery store or pharmacy. First, you will want to go to the water section and pick up a gallon of distilled water. It is important that it says distilled and you are not replacing it with any other type of water. Then go to the salt section and pick up non-iodized sea salt. This is natural or pure sea-salt, the only ingredient on the bottle should say sea salt. After getting these two items pour four teaspoons of the non-iodized sea salt into the gallon of distilled water and shake well. This will give you a gallon of cleaning solution to keep around the house.
Cleaning cheek piercings is important and should be done once or twice a day. Ideally, you will want to clean them once in the morning and once at night and rinse the inside of your mouth after eating, drinking, and smoking. To do a soak, pour the solution into a shot glass or a coffee mug (make sure your only using porcelain and glass as paper and plastic will contaminate the solution) and then put it in the microwave for a few seconds. The goal is to get the solution to body temperature or lukewarm, any longer and it can burn you and your piercing. Everyone has a different microwave and it might take a few tries to get the temperature right. After getting it right, tilt your head and submerge the outside of your cheek piercing into the solution and hold it there for 7 to 15 minutes.
Once you are finished with one side move over to the next side and do the same thing. After soaking both sides do a quick rinse inside of the mouth. Take some of the solution and swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds and spit it out. This will help clean any debris inside the mouth.
Disclaimer: If you have any questions or concerns about a piercing please seek out a Professional Piercer or a Medical Doctor.