Cheek Piercings

Jewellery:Labret or Straight Barbell
Healing:6-12 Months
Want the lowdown on cheek piercings? Read on to find out everything you need to know about this popular body modification!
A pair of cheek piercings, with coloured titanium barbells.

What Are Cheek Piercings?

Typically done in pairs, cheek piercings can be used to either create artificial dimples or to enhance the wearer's natural dimples. This piercing can be located close to the corners of the mouth (Like the Dahlia piercing) or even as far back as the first molars, allowing for great flexibility in positioning. 

 This piercing can be created using the traditional 'penetrative' piercing method, or through the use of microdermal implants. Microdermal piercings are favoured by some piercers for the following reasons:

  • No risk of tooth or gum damage, as the jewellery is embedded into the skin.
  • Lower rates of infection.
  • Smaller risk of injuring or perforating the parotid ducts. (Can cause some lymphatic issues in full cheek piercings)

It must be noted that microdermal piercings do have a larger chance of leaving scarring than the traditional method, so please consider this before you get your piercing.


As a rule, cheek piercings are done by piercing the facial tissue from the outside to the inside of the oral cavity. This is usually done using a 14g or 16g needle, depending on your anatomy. Once the hole has been made, the jewellery is then inserted, with a barbell being the most commonly used jewellery for brand new cheek piercings. 


Most people report that this piercing is a little uncomfortable, due to the thickness of the tissue being pierced and the quantity of blood vessels and nerve endings in that location. It's important to remember that this is merely anecdotal evidence, as pain is a highly subjective sensation that varies from individual to individual.

You must be careful not to bite down on your jewellery, especially during the healing process whilst the jewellery is extra-long to allow for swelling. Accidentally biting on your jewellery can not only damage your teeth, but could cause small tears and damage to the piercing itself, hindering healing. 

Some mild discomfort, throbbing, swelling and bleeding is to be expected following cheek piercings, though if you experience any abnormal levels of pain or discomfort, it's important to seek medical attention immediately. 


Proper aftercare is vital when looking after cheek piercings. Because they are both inside and outside the mouth, the risk of infection is greatly increased and two types of aftercare are needed. 

Following the procedure, you're likely to experience some swelling and discomfort that may make talking and eating difficult for few days. During this time, try to eat soft and cold foods (Mashed potato, ice cream and yoghurt are great choices) and to talk as little as possible to minimise discomfort and allow the cheek piercings to heal.

To keep your piercing healthy, we advise following this procedure:
  1. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and hot water before touching your piercing. 
  2. Using a solution of rock salt and pre-boiled, slightly cooled water (1 part salt to 4 parts water), clean your piercing by swishing the solution around your mouth for 15-30 seconds. Spit out the solution once you're done. 
  3. ext, using a solution of rock salt and pre-boiled, slightly cooled water (1 part salt to 4 parts water), clean your piercing. This can be done by either fully submerging the piercing fully (A great tip is to use a shot glass or a small bowl) or by applying the solution liberally to the piercing and the surrounding areas with a cotton bud or pad. 
  4. If you notice any fluid or crust, ensure you remove it gently, using the solution and cotton buds or pads. If there is any kind of stubborn build-up then you may need to repeat the cleansing process until you've removed all the build up. 
  5. Gently pat the area dry with a non-fibrous paper towel (Never use toilet paper or cosmetic tissues, as they can leave material residue behind). 
  6. Finally, check that your jewellery is secure (Ensure threaded balls or screw on balls are on correctly) and wash your hands again. 
Repeat this procedure twice a day during the advised healing time of your piercing. It's also recommended that you rinse your mouth out with an alcohol-free mouthwash after eating to keep your mouth clean and fresh. 


14 or 16 gauge jewellery is used in fresh cheek piercings, with jewellery typically of 22-24mm in length to allow for any swelling that may occur. Straight barbells are the most commonly used style of jewellery for this piercing, though labret studs can be used in some instances. 

Once your cheek piercings have healed, you can swap your jewellery for something with a little more personality! If you're concerned about biting down on your jewellery, then flexible acrylic or PTFE barbells and labrets may be a good choice, as the material is soft and won't damage your teeth should you accidentally gnaw on the balls. Once these piercings are fully healed, jewellery of 16-18mm in length is suitable to wear

If you intend to stretch your cheek piercings, it's recommended that you seek advice from a fully trained, professional piercer before embarking on the stretching process.

Article Disclaimer:
 The information contained here within is based on our experience as one of the UK’s largest piercing chains. Please note that each individual’s experiences will be subjective and therefore each person will have a different experience of pain, healing and maintenance. For more information, please view our article guides terms and conditions page.

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