Labret Piercing: A Quick Guide Before Getting One

When it comes to labret piercing types, the sky’s the limit! With so many variations and cool accents, the labret piercing you’re looking for can take your beautification to the next level. Here’s a simple guide on the variations on labret piercings, healing time, risks and other FAQs. 

What’s a Labret Piercing?

By its simplest explanation, a labret piercing is a piercing in your bottom lip. Although there are many styles of labrets, the procedure is typically performed by piercing from the outer lip to the inside. 

A labret stud is composed of three parts:

  • A flat disk back which secures the jewelry from the inside of the lip
  • A shaft or rod that passes through the hole
  • A bead or some other ornamentation visible on the outside of the piercing

Labrets are incredibly popular with body modification fans who want something more special than a traditional ear piercing, although they are rather painful at first.

Variations of Labret Piercings

Of course, when a piercing becomes a trend everyone loves to come up with fresh variations. Here are some of them:

Vertical labret: While the labret piercing consists of a single puncture through the skin directly below the lip, the vertical labret piercing is made of two punctures that go through the lip vertically. It then exits below the lip where a labret would be placed.

Lowbret: This piercing is located as low as possible and pierced in the chin beneath the lower lip.

Spider bites: These are a series of three piercings made in the bottom lip.

Snake bites: Two piercings are made side-by-side in the bottom lip, reminiscent of snake fangs.

Medusa piercing: This labret piercing  is located between the center ridges of the upper lip.

Monroe piercing: This piercing pays homage to Marilyn Monroe’s famous beauty mark. The jewelry is placed on the left side of the upper lip.

Madonna piercing: This is the same as a Monroe piercing, only on the other side.

Crayfish piercing: This is a double of a Monroe piercing with labrets worn on each or both sides of the upper lips. And when you go with longer barbells, they look a little like the feelers on a crayfish, hence the name.

Philtrum piercings: All philtrum piercings are made through the ridges of the upper lip. A horizontal philtrum piercing runs side to side instead of up and down, and works well with barbell jewelry and captive bead rings.

Frenulum piercing: The frenulum piercing is on a connective tissue between the upper lip and gums. It’s popular name is a “smiley” because you can’t see it until the wearer pulls back her lips in a smile, revealing his/her jewelry.

Labret Piercing Healing Time

A labret piercing generally heals between six to eight weeks, barring complications. During this period it is very important to keep the site clean.

  • Rinse with saline solution three times a day, especially after eating and brushing your teeth. 
  • Avoid mouthwash (especially Listerine) because it can irritate the site. 
  • Wash your hands before you clean the area. 
  • Avoid touching the area or your jewelry unless absolutely needed.

Is a labret piercing painful?

The pain during the piercing process isn’t considered too bad when compared to other mouth/oral piercings, although a horizontal/vertical labret will likely hurt a little bit more than a standard labret. Labret piercings hurt because sensitive lip tissue is involved rather than just skin.

Do labret piercings ruin your teeth?

Without the proper care, labret piercings can result in tooth loss! Any type of body modification carries some potential health risks, so it’s only fair to discuss them. If you’re considering getting a labret piercing, you need enough pros and cons to make an informed decision.

Tooth Wear

No matter how well your labret was positioned, there’s always a chance that the jewelry will rub against your tooth enamel. This can leave divots and chips in your teeth that will eventually begin to decay unless you have them repaired by your dentist in Chattanooga.

Check your teeth daily for damage so you can nip any emerging problems in the bud.

Tooth Drift

This is experienced by longtime labret wearers. The pressure of the back of the jewelry against or between the teeth causes erosion of the enamel, and eventually forces the affected teeth out of alignment. Although the teeth can usually be repaired, the alignment of your teeth can only be restored with braces.

Gum/Jaw Damage

Tongue or lip piercings that are in constant contact with your gums will create gum recession. 

If your labret rubs against your gums, they will slowly begin to wear away. When this happens, the roots of your teeth are left exposed and open to decay. 

As your gum recedes, you are exposing more of your tooth’s root, this can make it easier for bacteria to build up and severely damage your tooth. If you allow the problem to continue unchecked, the resulting infection may move into your jawbone, causing it to recede. Once this happens your teeth will begin to feel loose in your jaw, and may even fall out.

There’s little a dentist can do for you at this point beyond sewing your gums closed. So, keep your labret piercing clean and inspect your mouth for damage.


A labret can actually become embedded in your lip if your lip swells significantly. There are several reasons why this might happen, and some situations are more serious than others.

Mostly all labret piercings swell a little right after the procedure is performed. Most piercers will insert a larger sized labret to compensate for this, replacing it with appropriate sized jewelry once the piercing has healed. This is fairly standard for any labret piercing, and any embedding in this situation should be mild and temporary.

An inexperienced or unskilled piercer may insert an under-sized labret into a fresh piercing, and this may actually encourage more swelling. If the labret feels snug in the lip immediately after piercing, it’s far too small. You always want just enough room for the jewelry to move freely, but not excessively.

If your jewelry does become embedded it’s best to remove it and either replace it with a larger piece, or let the piercing heal over and close.

How long does a labret piercing take to heal?

Labret piercing usually completely heals between 6 to 8 weeks. You might experience swelling (usually 2-3 days after the piercing) this swelling can last 7-10 days. A longer labret stud must be worn until the initial swelling has gone down; a shorter stud can then replace it. You should wait for at least 2 weeks to do this. Labret piercings can move position on the inside of the lip, this process is called nesting or migration. Make sure the skin doesn’t close over the labret back, make a habit of checking each morning while you are brushing your teeth. If this is starting to happen change to a longer bar.

A good tip is don’t get pierced with a ring, you often get slower healing and often the ring isn’t big enough to allow your lip to swell and sinks into the lip (this often results in tearing the inside of your lip). If you have an extra big ring in your lip it flops around a lot which is quite painful and delays healing. 

How is a labret piercing done?

They are done with a curved barbell instead of a universal labret, and it exits through the top of the bottom lip. Therefore, two sides of jewelry are visible, one above another. Horizontal labret piercing is the same as vertical, it has two visible jewelry ends, but this time, they are placed horizontally.

Can you kiss with a lip piercing?

When you have a tongue piercing, labret piercing, lip ring or snakebite, it’s important to be mindful of the other person’s teeth as you kiss. Labret piercings can chip teeth and cause oral damage for the other person. Be gentle as you kiss someone when you have a lip piercing.

How can I hide my labret piercing?

  1. Clear or Flesh Colored Retainer. A labret retainer is an acrylic jewelry piece. It is specifically made with a flat end, rather than a stud. The acrylic is either clear or flesh-colored and is much less noticeable than a metal piercing. If you want a piercing that needs to be hidden away during the healing stages, ask the piercer to place a retainer instead of the initial jewelry.
  2. Facial Makeup. To hide the labret piercing for a short time, consider turning the stud around. Place the bulbous end inside your mouth and the flat side or flat end on the outside. Then you can cover the metal with a facial concealer 
  3. Bandages. Let’s say you only need to hide the piercing for a day or so, consider removing the stud and covering the hole with a small bandage. Tiny self-adhesive bandages can be worn comfortably on the face and most people viewing it will assume that to be cut rather than a piercing.

How much does a labret piercing cost?

The cost will vary depending on where you go and what ring you choose to use, for this reason, labret piercings can cost between $20- $100.

If you’re like a lot of piercing fans, none of the info above is going to dissuade you from getting a labret piercing. Just be sure you go to an experienced professional to have the procedure done, and get in touch with your physician or dentist immediately if you notice any signs of infection or damage.

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