Why Does My Daith Piercing Hurt When I Smile?

You’re here most probably to find an explanation for your aching jaw whenever you yawn or smile. It started happening when you got your daith pierced, right?

The good news is that you don’t have to worry about it (unless the pain is unbearable, in which case you should see your piercer or get medical advice).

The bad news is that the pain will stay for quite a while, at least as long as the initial healing is done.
Piercing a daith is quite a painful procedure itself. The cartilage is very thick around this region since it is the place where the inner and outer ear meets. So getting a needle through that thick cartilage requires a bit more time than other piercings. And more time results in more pain. But anyway, let’s get back to the question.

Why Does A Daith Piercing Hurt When You Smile?

You must have heard that a daith piercing helps with migraines. Now, why is that? It is because of the trigeminal nerve in the daith area, which is a major trigger point for migraines. This very nerve is connected to the mouth as well. It carries signals to the jaws.

Trigeminal Nerve?

We will have to dive into some anatomy and physiology of your face to get to our point. The maxillary division of the trigeminal nerve is connected to the midface, upper lip, roof of the mouth, and maxillary teeth.

So the trigeminal nerve is greatly involved in the perception of orofacial pain.
In the initial days of the piercing, it is very tender, and slight movements cause pain. So here we get to our crux.

What happens when you smile? You move your jaws. These jaws are connected to your ears through several nerves (the trigeminal nerve is the most important one here). Movement of your jaws leads to movement of your ears. Your tender Daith piercing cannot stand those movements in its initial days. And hence, the pain when you smile.

One reason your daith piercing hurts when you smile is that there is a direct connection between the lips and ears. There are several muscles that connect your lips directly or indirectly to the daith area of your ears. When you smile, these muscles contract. The force of contraction pulls your ear forward, which stretches your daith piercing, causing pain in your unhealed daith piercing.

Interlinked Sensory Functions

The mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve is responsible for sensory functions in the lower part of the mouth, teeth of the lower jaw, chin, and lower lip, all of which are involved in smiling. Apart from them, the nerve is also responsible for sensory functions in the inner ear as well, the place where your daith piercing lies.

The interconnection of the sensory fiber of the trigeminal nerve that flows from the ear towards different parts of the mouth basically explains the link between the pain of the Daith piercing and your smile.

Does it mean you should stop smiling? Certainly not! Just be careful for a few days, and you can go back to your carefree smiles once the piercing is healed.

See Also: Best Wireless Earbuds for Daith Piercing

How Long Should A Daith Piercing Be Sore?

The healing time varies from person to person. A daith piercing is quite sensitive, and touching it may cause discomfort for the first few weeks.

The cartilage around the daith is considerably thick, and it requires more time and effort to pierce it. This also means that more time will be required for the healing as well. Your daith may make the initial recovery within 6-8 weeks. But we’d recommend you to leave it on its own for another month or so, just to be safe.

The more properly it heals, the fewer problems it will create for you. So hang in there and wait for around 2-3 months before you start experimenting with different jewelry.

How Often Should You Clean Your Daith Piercing?

Daith piercing sure is sensitive, but the good thing about it is that it doesn’t require much attention and cleaning. It is better to leave it to heal on its own rather than getting nosy in its healing process.
As for cleaning, you should clean it two times per week, and that will be good enough. Take some sea salt and make a saline solution to clean your piercing. You may also use commercially available piercing cleaners/soaps for cleaning it. Both work fine.

Does A Daith Piercing Hurt More Than A Helix?

The answer to this question is quite subjective. We have heard different opinions from different people. But the more common point of view about the pain of a daith piercing suggests that it hurts like hell.

 The process of getting it pierced is far more painful than a helix piercing. But to make up for that pain, the daith doesn’t hurt that bad after the piercing is done. The healing process of a helix is more difficult and painful than a daith. The pain of the helix piercing increases by 5x as time passes.

However, the case is the opposite for a daith piercing. It hurts real bad while the piercing is done, but after a while, the pain will barely be there.

Read about cartilage piercing here.

Daith Piercing And Headache – Does It Really Work?

Since there is no scientific proof about the treatment of migraine with a daith piercing, we cannot really say if it will work for you or anyone.

What works for one person may not work for everybody else. And you need to be especially careful in case of migraines. Some people do experience an improvement in their migraines, while others barely see a difference.
Health experts and doctors also do not recommend getting a daith piercing solely for the purpose of treating migraine (source).

You can try it because why not? But do not expect magic. It may prove successful because acupuncture for the treatment of headaches is also done at the same place as the daith piercing. But it may be totally useless as well. The choice is yours.

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