A snakebite piercing is when the lower lip is pierced twice, once on either side. This creates two holes that look like a snakebite. A number of different types of body jewelry might be used with this piercing, such as labrets, rings, or barbells. The two pieces of jewelry are sometimes connected with a chain or combined with a tattoo. The piercing can also be directly on the lip or sometimes is just underneath it. This type of piercing is somewhat popular and is a relatively simple procedure. Like all body piercings, some basic precautions should be taken to ensure proper healing and prevent injuries.
Like most lip and oral piercings, the snakebite piercing will usually heal quickly and easily. The mouth area has an ample blood supply, which helps to speed healing. The piercing is done in a similar way to other oral piercings. The piercer marks the areas to be pierced and then uses a clamp to hold the lip and inserts the piercing needle, followed by the jewelry. Most snakebite piercings are done all at the same time, although it is sometimes suggested to pierce one side, wait for it to heal, and then pierce the other. This method may minimize swelling and speed healing.
Swelling is a common problem with snakebite piercings. The piercer can help to choose appropriate body jewelry that leaves enough room to accommodate initial swelling. Although most swelling is minor and goes away in a short period of time, jewelry that is too tight may prevent the piercing from healing properly and can also cause infection. If a snakebite piercing causes a great deal of pain, bleeding, or swelling, the jewelry may be too small and should be exchanged for a larger set.
Proper cleaning is also very important for a new piercing. Many piercing studios recommend rinsing with a medicated mouthwash several times a day, including after all meals. The outside of the piercing should also be rinsed with saline solution or soap and water. The jewelry should not be removed for cleaning because oral piercings can close very quickly.
People who have a snakebite piercing or other oral jewelry should be careful not to bite down on it, as this can chip or crack the teeth or cause other mouth injuries. Take small bites of food when eating and chew slowly. After the piercing has completely healed and there is no more swelling, return to the piercing shop to get shorter labrets, as improperly sized jewelry can also contribute to mouth injuries.