Shark bites piercing, also known as double lip piercing, is an exciting and trendy body modification that involves placing two piercings near the outer corners of the lower lip’s edge. The distinctive positioning of these piercings resembles the bite marks of a shark, hence the name. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore everything you need to know about shark bites piercing, from the types of jewelry used to the aftercare required for proper healing.
Types of Jewelry for Shark Bites Piercing
When it comes to adorning your shark bites piercing, you have two primary jewelry options: rings and labret studs. Labret studs consist of a bar with a decorative stud on one end and a flat plate on the other, which rests against the inside of the lip. On the other hand, rings are circular jewelry pieces that encircle the lip.
Choosing the Right Material for Your Jewelry
Selecting the appropriate material for your shark bites piercing jewelry is crucial, especially since it will come into contact with your teeth and gums. For initial oral piercings, it is recommended to opt for jewelry made from implant-grade metals or 14-karat (or higher) gold. Consider the following material options:
- Surgical Steel: Jewelry made from surgical steel contains various alloys, including nickel. While it generally has a low release rate, making it safe for most individuals, those with nickel sensitivities should exercise caution.
- Titanium: Implant-grade titanium is a nickel-free option that is safe for everyone. Although it tends to be more expensive than stainless steel, it is an ideal choice for individuals sensitive to other metals.
- Niobium: This affordable and lightweight metal shares similarities with titanium but lacks the implant-grade designation. It is a suitable alternative for those seeking a budget-friendly option.
- 14-Karat (or Higher) Gold: If you prefer gold jewelry, ensure it is genuine and not gold-plated or filled. Additionally, be cautious of gold vermeil or overlay, as they contain other alloys beneath a thin gold layer, which can chip or wear off.
Exploring the Cost of Shark Bites Piercing
The cost of a shark bites piercing can vary depending on several factors, including the location, jewelry choice, and the experience level of the piercing professional. On average, you can expect to pay between $60 and $120 for a shark bites piercing. Remember to include a tip when budgeting for your piercing, with a customary rate of 20 percent if you are satisfied with the service.
The Piercing Process: What to Expect
Every piercing appointment begins with a consultation, during which you will discuss the piercing and the jewelry options. Following the consultation, the piercing process typically involves the following steps:
- Disinfection: The piercing professional will disinfect the skin around your lower lip to ensure a clean and sterile environment.
- Oral Rinse: You will be asked to rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash to eliminate any bacteria present.
- Marking the Piercing Spots: Using a body-safe marker, the professional will mark the precise spots where the piercings will be placed, ensuring your satisfaction with the placement.
- Clamping and Piercing: A clamp will be used to pull your bottom lip down and away from your teeth and gums. Then, a needle will be gently inserted through the inside of your lip, followed by the insertion and securing of the jewelry. The process will be repeated for the piercing on the other side.
Cleaning and Aftercare Instructions: The piercing professional will clean the area again and provide you with detailed aftercare instructions to promote proper healing.
Managing Pain and Potential Risks
Pain levels can vary from person to person, but generally, shark bites piercings are considered less painful compared to other lip piercings. On a pain scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, individuals who have had this piercing typically rate the pain between 3 and 5. It’s worth noting that some people find the clamping process more uncomfortable than the actual piercing itself.
While shark bites piercings are generally safe, it’s important to be aware of potential risks and complications. By following proper aftercare instructions and seeking the assistance of an experienced piercing professional, you can minimize these risks. Here are some possible complications to be mindful of:
- Infection: Bacteria can enter the piercing through activities like eating, touching your mouth, kissing, or engaging in oral sex. Ensure that your piercing professional uses clean and sterile equipment to reduce the risk of bloodborne infections such as tetanus or HIV.
- Swelling: It’s normal to experience swelling in the first few days after getting the piercing. Some individuals may experience more swelling than others. Applying ice and keeping your head elevated can help reduce swelling.
- Tooth or Gum Damage: The jewelry may come into contact with your gums and teeth while talking or chewing, potentially causing irritation and enamel damage. Be mindful of this and take care to avoid unnecessary friction.
- Trauma or Tearing: Accidental snagging of the lip jewelry can occur during everyday activities like putting on clothes, styling hair, or intimate contact. Take precautions to prevent trauma or tearing of the piercing.
- Nerve Disruption: Although the risk is low, a study has linked facial piercings to nerve disruption, leading to chronic back pain and eye misalignment in some individuals. While rare, it’s important to be aware of this possibility.
Healing Time and Aftercare
The healing process for shark bites piercings typically takes around 2 to 3 months, depending on how well you adhere to the aftercare instructions provided by your piercing professional. Other factors that can impact healing time include your overall health and the skill level of the professional.
Proper aftercare is crucial for optimal healing and reducing the risk of complications. Here are some essential aftercare practices to follow:
- Wash your hands thoroughly before cleaning or handling your piercing.
- Rinse your mouth with a saline solution upon waking up, after meals, and before bed.
- Use a saline solution to rinse or spray the outside of your piercings.
- Maintain good oral hygiene by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth.
- Use a new, soft-bristled toothbrush specifically for your piercing, and store it separately from other toothbrushes.
- Gently wash the area around the piercing with mild soap, ensuring to rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of soap.
- Pat the area dry with clean paper towels, as cloth towels may harbor bacteria or snag the jewelry.
- Be cautious when eating, avoiding hard, crunchy, spicy foods, as well as hot foods and drinks that can irritate the piercing.
- Reduce swelling by sleeping with your head elevated, applying a cold compress, or allowing ice chips to dissolve in your mouth.
Signs of Potential Problems
While some initial symptoms such as light bleeding, tenderness, and yellowish discharge are normal in the first few days, certain signs may indicate a problem or infection. If you experience any of the following, it’s important to contact your piercing professional or healthcare professional:
- Severe redness, pain, or swelling.
- Excessive smelly discharge that is thick, green, yellow, or gray.
- Rash or blisters around the piercing site.
- Skin that is warm to the touch.
- Redness spreading outward from the piercing site.
- Gum or tooth issues, such as bleeding or erosion.
- Fever, chills, vomiting, or confusion.
It is essential to wait until your shark bites piercing is fully healed before changing the jewelry. Remember that piercings heal from the outside in, so even if it appears healed on the surface, the inner tissue may still be undergoing the healing process. If you are unsure about the healing progress, consult your piercing professional before attempting to change the jewelry yourself. They can ensure that it is safe and guide you through the process.
When the time comes for a jewelry change, make sure to handle the jewelry and the piercing with clean hands. If you encounter difficulty or resistance while removing or inserting the jewelry, it is advisable to seek professional assistance to prevent any complications.
Retiring the Piercing
Should you decide to remove your shark bites piercing, it is best to wait until the piercing is fully healed. Removing the jewelry too early may result in the piercing closing and potentially causing discomfort. Once the jewelry is removed, continue to keep the area clean as it heals. You can expect small scars at each piercing site as the tissue grows in.
Next Steps: Finding a Reputable Piercing Studio
If you’re ready to embark on your shark bites piercing journey, it is crucial to research and find a reputable piercing studio with a strong emphasis on safety. Consider the following steps:
- Seek referrals from friends or family who have had positive experiences with piercing studios.
- Read reviews and feedback from previous clients to gauge the studio’s reputation.
- Look for piercing professionals who are members of recognized associations like the Association of Professional Piercers (APP).
- Visit the studio in person to ensure they have the necessary permits and licenses to operate.
- Inquire about their sterilization procedures and ask to see their credentials and a portfolio showcasing their previous clients’ healed piercings.
- Evaluate the quality of the jewelry they offer, as using high-quality materials is essential for a successful piercing experience.
Conclusion: Embrace the Beauty of Shark Bites Piercing
Shark bites piercings offer a unique and stylish way to express your individuality. By following proper aftercare instructions, being mindful of potential risks, and seeking professional assistance when needed, you can enjoy the beauty of this captivating piercing. Remember to listen to your body and consult with your piercing professional or healthcare professional if you have any concerns or notice signs of infection.