Depending on the beauty-marked celeb you’re inspired by, you might refer to an upper lip piercing as a Monroe, Crawford, or Madonna piercing. The skin near your mouth is pierced and a sparkly labret stud is affixed to your cute little face. This is not sarcasm. I still think lip piercings are gorgeous. But unfortunately, they come with some pretty nasty risks.

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I got my Monroe piercing done when I was 21 years old. It was a spontaneous thing and I thought it was fine because I’d seen so many girls with similar piercings and I went to a really nice tattoo parlor. I didn’t do any research beforehand. I was 21, alright? Ha.

I took care of the piercing site and it never got infected. In fact, the piercing didn’t bother me at all for a while. I was completely stoked. But once the honeymoon was over, the backing started to bother me. Long story short, I went to a piercing studio in San Diego and they told me it was pierced at a slight angle. So basically, the disc at the end of the post (inside my mouth) was scraping up my tooth, pushing my gums up. It gradually started to bother me more and more over the course of a year.

At my next dental checkup, my dentist told me the gum damage is irreversable, I’m causing nerve and tooth damage and I could even lose my tooth if I continue to wear the piercing. I loved that piercing and felt like it had become a permanent fixture on my face. Like part of my identity. Did or does anyone else feel like this? I did not want to take it out!

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But I did and I don’t regret it for a second. Shit guys, look: the American Dental Association has studies that show mouth piercing can cause tooth loss! Ugh, even Wikipedia warns of this.

This is not to say that you can’t find success in oral piercing. My friend, Mariya, got hers done in Bulgaria (where she’s from) by a dentist who was hypersensitive about minding her teeth. I know people who’ve been pierced for years and have zero irritation or damage. I also wouldn’t call my experience a complete failure. I absolutely loved how the little sparkle looked at the corner of my mouth. And the scar? Is it weird that I kind of like it?

What I am saying is that there is a risk. If I had kept mine in for a couple more years, I would have lost a tooth. Ask my dentist.

Can you relate? Have you thought about getting a Monroe? Do you have one with no plans of taking it out? I want to hear your story!

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