- Use one or both of the following solutions for inside the mouth:
- Anti-microbial or anti-bacterial alcohol-free mouth rinse
- Packaged sterile saline solution or non-iodized sea salt mixture:
- Dissolve 1/4 a teaspoon of non-iodized (iodide-free) sea salt into 8 oz of warm, distilled water. (4 teaspoons to 1 gallon
- The solution should taste as salty as your tears and can be as hot as a drinkable cup of coffee.
- A STRONGER MIXTURE IS NOT BETTER.
CLEANING INSTRUCTIONS FOR INSIDE THE MOUTH
- Rinse mouth with cleaning solution for 30 seconds after meals and at bedtime (4-5 times daily) during the entire healing period. Cleaning too often or with too strong a rinse can cause discoloration and irritation of your mouth and piercing.
CLEANING INSTRUCTIONS FOR EXTERIOR OF LABRET (LIP & CHEEK) PIERCINGS
- Wash your hands thoroughly prior to cleaning or touching your piercing for any reason.
- Saline soak at least 2 to 3 times daily. Do so by either:
- Inverting a cup or a shot glass of the warm saline solution over the area to form a vacuum.
- Soaking a clean cotton ball or Q-tip with the solution and covering the new piercing.
- Soap no more than once or twice a day. Leave cleanser on the piercing no more than 30 seconds. While showering, simply spend the last five minutes gently rinsing the piercing to remove all traces of soap. Avoid wash cloths or loofas on or around your piercing.
- Dry by gently patting with a clean, disposable paper product such as a tissue, Q-tip, paper towel, etc.
- Cloth towels, wash cloths, and loofas can harbor bacteria and snag on jewelry causing infection, irritation and unnecessary pain.
WHAT IS NORMAL?
- For the first three to five day significant swelling, light bleeding, bruising and/or tenderness may occur.
- After the first week, some swelling and/or light secretion of a whitish-yellow fluid (not puss), may occur.
- A piercing may seem healed before the healing process is complete. This is because tissue heals from the outside in, and even if it feels fine, the interior remains fragile. BE PATIENT! Maintain your cleaning routine throughout the entire healing period.
- Even healed piercings can shrink or close in a matter of minutes after having been there for years. This varies from person to person. If you like your piercing, keep your jewelry in!
TO HELP WITH SWELLING
- Allow small pieces of ice to dissolve in your mouth.
- Take an over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium according to package instructions.
- Don’t speak or move your jewelry more than necessary.
- Sleep with your head elevated above your heart for the first few nights.
CLEANING & ORAL HYGIENE
- Use a new soft-bristled toothbrush and store it in a clean area away from other toothbrushes.
- Brush your teeth and use your chosen rinse (mouthwash or saline rinse) after every meal.
- During healing, floss daily and gently brush teeth, tongue and jewelry. Once healed, brush jewelry more thoroughly to avoid plaque build up.
- Slowly eat smaller bites of food placed directly onto your molars.
- Avoid eating spicy, salty, acidic or hot temperature foods or beverages for a few days.
- Cold foods and beverages are soothing and help reduce swelling.
- For tongue piercings, try to keep your tongue level in your mouth as you eat because the jewelry can get between your teeth when you tongue turns.
- For labret piercings, be cautious of opening your mouth too wide, as this can result in the jewelry catching in your teeth.
- Once swelling has subsided, it is vital to replace the original, longer jewelry with a short post to avoid intra-oral damage. Because this necessary change often occurs during healing, it should be done by a qualified piercer.
- With clean hands and a paper product, such as a tissue or paper towel, regularly check threaded ends of jewelry for tightness. Carry a clean spare ball in case of loss or breakage. (Remember: righty-tighty, lefty-loosey.)
- Should you decide you no longer want the piercing, simply remove the jewelry or have a professional piercer remove it and continue cleaning the piercing until the hole closes. In most cases, only a small mark with remain. Contact your piercer for a non-metallic jewelry alternative if your metal jewelry must be temporarily removed, such as for a medical procedure.
- In the event an infection is suspected, quality jewelry should be let in place to allow for drainage of the infection. Should the jewelry be removed, the surface cells can close and seal the infection inside of the piercing channel. This can result in an abscess.
THINGS TO AVOID
- AVOID: Undue trauma such as excessive talking or playing with the jewelry during healing. This can cause unsightly and uncomfortable scar tissue, migration and other complications, including permanent damage to teeth, gums and other oral structures.
- AVOID: Using mouthwash that contains alcohol. This can irritate the piercing and delay healing.
- AVOID: Oral sexual contact including french kissing and oral sex during healing, even with a long-term, fluid bonded partner.
- AVOID: Chewing tobacco, gum, fingernails, pencils, sunglasses, and other foreign objects that could harbor bacteria in your mouth. Smoking increases risks of complications and lengthens healing times.
- AVOID: Sharing plates, cups and eating utensils.
- AVOID: Stress and recreational drug use, including excessive caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.
- AVOID: Aspirin, alcohol and large amounts of caffeine as long as you are experiencing bleeding or swelling.
- AVOID: Submerging your piercing in unhygienic bodies of water such as lakes, pools, hot tubs, bath tubs, etc. If you do decide to do so, protect your piercing using a water proof bandage such as 3M Nexcare Clean Seals or Tegaderm).
- AVOID: Using beauty and personal care products on or around the piercing including cosmetics, lotions, perfumes, etc.