Cheek Piercing Question

I received a question from a piercee who had gotten her cheeks pierced:

I got my cheeks pierced last Saturday. It didn't hurt at all and I was really happy with them because I had been wanting it done for so long. They aren't too far back, they are perfect. BUT.. the next day they were really swollen and have been getting more and more swollen everyday. The balls on the inside of my mouth are digging into my cheeks and I have no way to contact my piercer since I lost her card and it was done at a street fair and that is gone now. When i push the ball from the inside out, puss comes out.  It's a yellowish white color. All around the piercings on the outside is hard. I really don't want to take the piercings out since I have wanted them for so long and spent so much money on getting them done. I can't even go to a local shop because nobody around here does cheek piercings. (Nobody ever wanted to pierce them for me in the shops because of the risks, that's why I think it was so expensive) I also heard that if it is infected, (which I really hope it isn't) taking out the piercing could trap the infection inside when the hole closes... I've been cleaning them with saline solution and rinsing my mouth with water and the salt that the piercer gave me, and I am also taking Ibuprofen for the swelling and eating lots of ice and putting ice on my cheeks. I really need your advice! Thanks.

My reply:

If your jewelry is so short that it may become embedded you MUST get the jewelry changed to longer bars. And you should have flat discs on the inside--not balls. The balls represent greater danger to your teeth; a flat disc is defintely safer.

I don't have a lot of trust in a piercer who works in an environment like a street fair, so even if you thought it expensive, I would't be surprised if you're wearing cheap/poor quality jewelry. So if you want to try to keep your piercings, you must get the jewelry changed. Even though the local piercers wouldn't perform cheek piercings, they may be willing to help you out now that you've got them. PLEASE contact a local piercer for assistance.

It is true that something should be left in, in the event of an infection, but your jewelry should be changed for an appropriate style (flat backs), better fitting, high quality jewelry.

The aftercare I advocate is here:

Below is the story that appears in my book, The Piercing Bible:

The Worst Piercing Story


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.

I want to know how sore dimple piercings are?

Hi there. I have had my dimples pierced but got an infection in my left side. It's now cleared up and I want to repierce it. How long do I have to wait xx

if i pierce my cheeks fora month then take out the piercings will they leave dimples? i know there is a surgery but it is costly and this seems a better alterbnative plese help.

if i take out the piercings in a month will it leave dimples? please answer really want dimples cant afforde the surgery this is  a better alternative.

This is something that must be done by a skilled and experienced piercer--if at all. DO NOT pierce yourself! As it says in The Piercing Bible:

Piercing: Not a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Hobby

At the beginning of the modern piercing movement, few competent practitioners were available. Lacking pros to help, people who felt the urge lanced their own bodies with heated sewing needles or common earrings. Even today, amateur or unethical hack piercers can be found who will pierce anything on anyone, badly. Young teenagers who cannot obtain parental permission for a piercing and those who cannot easily afford professional services in a studio often take this route.

Many online shops sell piercing kits, which advertise that they come with “complete instructions” and are “easy to use.” Wrong! These are no safer than a home root-canal kit and must be avoided. A DIY piercing is often poorly placed and has a greatly increased risk of infection and other problems. Piercing studios are common now, so there is no longer any excuse for shoddy piercings.

I really want to get my checks pierced and I'm planning to this weekend but I'm scared after hearing some of the problems it could cause what's the safest way and place on the cheek to have it. Also how should u clean it. Your information would be greatly appreciated

i got my dimples pierced in early october and now its december. mine never swole at all and they never hurt or got sore. well recently i have a fair amount of oozing out of the left side which is also the one the piercer pulled downward on the needle upon exiting. it gets a tadbit sore and crusty. but the right has been a breeze. now im down to a yellowish white secretion throughout the day. sometimes none from the right. am i ok? also i see a tiny little dark space over the hole under the barbell. i think its from the reassertion inside the piercing. will it go away mrs. angel? help how long will it ooze. the ooze is a little stinky to me sometimes. like an earring that needs cleaning. it went so smoothly i shouldve known i would have some issues. i want to keep them but i will let them go. i have three tongue rings a monroe navel and vchp. dont remember anything like this with them

The only potentially safe place is in front of the first molar. The closer to the lips you go, the safer it is (within reason).

Know the risks:


Cheek Piercing/Dimple

Dimples are widely regarded as an attractive facial characteristic, and some people wish to enhance their natural indentations or create dimples via piercing. Unfortunately, that region of the face contains a host of significant structures, including blood vessels, nerves, and the parotid duct (a conduit for a component in saliva). Piercing into any of these can be disastrous. If abandoned, this piercing can cause permanent scars and excessive dimpling of the skin.

I want to pierce my cheek myself, What are some tips you can give me? 

Hi Elayne. I am a body piercing apprentice with great hopes of becoming one of the best piercers around and someday becoming a member of APP. I would like to thank you for all of the material that you have published. Your works and experiences have been a light for my path on this wonderful journey. I recently got my cheeks pierced. I am three weeks in to healing and things are going well apart from a persistent leakage on both sides. I did,however, have an infection in the first week due to a compromised immune system. It has been cleared with the help of sea salt and Cipro. I LOVE the way my piercings accentuate my natural dimples, BUT my main concern is for my health and safety. Is this persistent leakage possibly a salivary problem like your own, or is the drainage a part of the healing process; given that the piercings are still new? Thanks again for your time and I look forward to hearing back.