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Body Tattoo – blog about tattoo art
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QOW – Labret Healing Issues

February 4th, 2008
Question:
My husband recently got his labret done. the inside of the lip is trying
to grow up over the ring. he can push it through with no problem but it still
worries me that it might heal up over top of it. is this a normal thing or does he
maybe just need a longer ring or to take it out all together?


Answer:

This is a very common problem with labret piercings. What’s happening is the skin and gums are being irritated by the foreign object – the disc on the back of the labret bar – and so it is trying to protect itself by creating a layer of skin to cushion the contact points. You don’t want to allow this skin to grow over, though, or removing the jewelry will require slicing the skin open.


To get rid of the skin layer, you need sea salt soaks. But oral sea salt soaks are a bit different than those for external piercings. You need to soak more often, and really hot salt water in your mouth isn’t going to be pleasant. So, here’s what I did. I made a solution of sea salt water (Approximately 1 teaspoon sea salt to a cup of water) and put it in a sport bottle. I carried it with me everywhere and swished out with it numerous time throughout the day. After a few days, the layer of skin started to recede and it eventually went away.


Once you’ve gotten rid of the growth, you want to keep it away. Sometimes, just getting a smaller disc for the back of the bar does the trick. Or maybe a silicone back, so it’s not so irritating. But if that won’t work, you may need to consider being re-pierced. It could be the angle that is causing the irritation. Or your body may just simply not accept that particular piercing – it sucks, but it happens.


If you are forced to remove the piercing due to irritation/rejection, another option is the vertical labret, as seen to the left here. A vertical labret does not have any significant contact with the gums and does not rub against the inside of the lip like the disc on the labret bar. The vertical labret has been increasing in popularity because it is much more tooth-and-gum friendly. I’m sure our dentists appreciate them, too!

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