Cheek Piercing Advice

I received this message from someone who clearly is in need of serious advice:

Subject: Piercing Question

"Elayne.....I'm an ameutar piercer and have excepted a client who wants her dimples pierced. she has chubby cheeks, but otherwise no reason not to go ahead with the piercing. I am not sure how to go about the procedure and were I should properly pierce. Can you share some advice?"

I sent him the page from my book The Piercing Bible called "The Worst Piercing Story" and it is all about cheek piercing:

In all my experience as a professional piercer since the 1980s, this is the worst thing that ever happened to anyone I pierced—and it happened to me.

On November 13, 1998, I pierced my own cheeks to mark a significant personal milestone. I placed the piercings in the natural indentations that appeared when I smiled. I had fantasized about this for years; I imagined wearing dainty, sparkling diamonds in my dimples.

I carefully marked each side. I inspected the area with a strong flashlight, and squeezed and pressed the tissue between my fingers. I didn’t see or feel any anatomical structures.

My dimples are pretty far back, so it was a bit of a challenge, but I was very pleased with how they turned out. (Honestly, it didn’t hurt.) During the following week I had the interesting sensation of having been smiling too much, and that was about it for discomfort.

I followed the standard care and experienced normal swelling and no bleeding. My healing course was fairly lengthy, as is expected in this area, but entirely uneventful.

The piercings took about seven months to heal, but they didn’t bother me in the least. On a daily basis, people admired my unique adornments and made complimentary remarks about them. I loved the way my fancy dimples looked, and I felt at least 33.3 percent cuter with them.

About a year and a half after I did the piercings, though, the right side started to leak and I couldn’t figure out why. Every once in a while a drop of clear, odorless, tasteless liquid came from the piercing, wetting my cheek. It was lighter than water and not at all viscous like saliva. I thought I might have an allergy and changed my soap and detergent. I thought I might have a jewelry problem and tried larger discs. As time wore on, the leaking became worse and actually began to drip. My cheek became sore and chapped from the liquid, and from the friction of wiping it away. I went to my dentist for help. I saw an orofacial surgeon. My parotid glands and ducts were working fine, without obstruction. That was the good news. The bad news was that at some point a portion of the parotid gland or duct (the tube that delivers saliva from the gland to the mouth) opened into my piercing channel. Their advice: “Take those things out.”

No way.

The leaking got progressively worse. The final straw was when the liquid from my cheek dripped from my face and landed right on someone I was about to pierce. Naturally, it is not at all appropriate for a piercer to deposit personal bodily fluids in the proximity of a fresh piercing. So, with extreme reluctance, I removed the jewelry and abandoned the piercings. I was devastated to be without my fancy dimples, so I figured out a way to glue small rhinestones into place where my jewelry used to shine.

My right cheek continued to leak off and on over the ensuing months, even after I took the jewelry out. I had to try something drastic. I used a medical tool called a cautery scalpel to burn the hole shut by generating scar tissue (not a service offered at piercing studios!). That worked for a few weeks, but then the leaking started yet again. It finally sealed completely after using the cautery scalpel for the third time, creating a deeper and more severe burn.

So, when people come to me requesting cheek piercing, I share this story with them, and obviously say, “No.” I will not pierce the cheek area further back than the first molars. And, for obvious reasons, you shouldn’t either.

Hi there, my name is Collette. I'm having the same problem you were having with my cheek. The left one leaked mildly when I was eating. I had mine done now for about 8 years. This morning I decided it was time to take them out. I got very tired of explaining to people what a horrible idea it waste get them pierced while rocking them myself. People thought I was just a hypocrit . I was hoping that taking them out would make the drooling stop but it is now much much worse. Anytime I eat or drink there is a flood down the side of my face. Do you think it will go away as the whole closes? 

hello(: well im roselia im getting my dimple piercings next week for my 15th birthday and i want to know if that hurt and some afftercare? thanks

ive had my dimple piercing for 9 or 10 ,onths now and unfortunatoy have had enouggh with thm sick to death of not being able to wear makeup and the rest of the b.s. that never fails to creep up on them from time time i no ttghis is probably a stupid question but wjen is it oo to take them out and should i go see a doctor after doing so

Hi im shelby and i recently got my dimples pierced. well school started back up about a month after i got them. so iv had to change them and now i have cheek jewlery in. well ion the inside of my left cheek theres a bump that hurts when i smile. im not too swollen anymore and their not pulling. but i dont know if its the flat back pinching my cheek or what.. help?

Hey my names nicki and i actually have a question. i recently had to take my dimple piercings out because my left cheek got infected. That was maybe a week and a half from now. I only had them in for 2 months and i loved them to death and im going to re-pierce them hopefully next week. Right now i have little dimples from them that weren't there before the piercing, but i pierced them to close to my mouth and i was thinking about pushing them back a little further for deeper dimples, but how long do you think it would take for the little dimples i now have to go up again? im nervous about it coming out funny looking like i have 2 big dimples on each cheek or something =/