Piercings have become a way of expression for many people. It is a lot like people getting tattoos or buying clothes to help express who they are. One of the biggest rages in the piercing industry is tongue piercing. It has long been the trend and it still continues to gain popularity.
Having a tongue piercing makes you look rather unique and different – even though there are thousands if not millions of people who actually have one. A tongue piercing can also make you look tougher and rugged.
But what are the things you should know when it comes to tongue piercings? How long will it take to heal and what are the things you can and can’t do once you have it?
Today, we will be talking about tongue piercings. If you are curious or planning to get one, you should do all the research you can to be prepared.
What is a Tongue Piercing?
- 1 What is a Tongue Piercing?
- 2 Types of Tongue Piercing
- 3 What Happens During a Tongue Piercing?
- 4 How Painful is a Tongue Piercing?
- 5 How Long Does it Heal?
- 6 Recommended Jewelries
- 7 Tongue Piercing Aftercare Guide
A tongue piercing is basically like any other piercing – except it is in your mouth. Because of that, the challenges you will face are also different. Even caring for it after you have it pierced is different than normal.
Unlike other piercings, the area you have it is also an area that you often use. When you talk, chew, or swallow, your tongue exerts an effort and that is something you have to note. You will likely feel uncomfortable or even pain especially during the first few weeks of having it.
Types of Tongue Piercing
If you go to your piercer and tell them you want a tongue piercing, that won’t be enough information for them to proceed. There are different types of tongue piercing. It can be different based on two factors: a) where it is located and b) what type of jewelry is used.
Before going to your piercer, you should first research about the different types of tongue piercings. Or you can find a photo of one and show it to your piercer. Of course, it is also much better to ask your piercer more information about the photo. You will know which type of jewelry is used and how you will be pierced.
Nonetheless, here are the types of tongue piercings:
Midline Tongue Piercing
This is the most popular type out of all the tongue piercings. The piercing is done in the middle of the tongue area and right in the center.
Side Tongue Piercing
Just like with the midline piercing, the jewelry is pierced in the middle area of the tongue. However, it’s done on one side – either to the left or right. You can choose which side of your tongue you would like to have it.
To make it easier for you, choose the opposite side of where you frequently chew. This will make the aftercare a lot better.
Horizontal or Vertical Tongue Piercing
These types of piercing go in the middle area of your tongue. As the name suggests, these can vertically or horizontally; it all depends on your preference. Your piercer will use a a barbell that goes through the tongue and would link the two studs together.
However, just note that not every piercer you will approach will actually do this for you. There are greater risks with this type of piercing, especially since a lot of nerves go through the tongue. Hitting or damaging these nerves could cause severe complications.
You should also note this and think twice. If you are really determined, you should find a piercer who is experienced in this kind of tongue piercing.
Snake Eyes Tongue Piercing
Once you see a photo of this piercing or even have it, you will find that its name definitely suits how it looks.
Basically, it’s a lot like horizontal tongue piercing where it goes through the tongue. However, this one is located at the front part of the tongue. With just the studs on the tip of your tongue, it would look as if these were the eyes of a snake.
It will also look like you have two jewelries but there’s the barbell going through the tongue.
Frenulum Linguae Tongue Piercing
It may be hard to say but it is not really that hard to locate. To see where the frenulum is, lift your tongue and touch the roof of your mouth. Look in the mirror and there you will see piece of skin that juts out. This connects the underside of the tongue to the lower part of your mouth.
That piece of skin is the frenulum. In this type of piercing, the needle will go through the frenulum. Barbells are also used for this kind of piercing.
Some people’s frenulum is not thick enough to hold a jewelry. Let your piercer check yours and see whether you can qualify to get one.
While frenulum or tongue web piercings actually heal faster, they are subject to migration. This means that the mouth rejects the piercing and it goes slowly out of the mouth.
Not everyone can have it. The chance of migration is higher and can greatly depend on the structure of your frenulum. Plus, you can’t really show it to anyone. The only way you can do this is to lift your tongue up which isn’t really a very common thing to show to someone.
What Happens During a Tongue Piercing?
Knowing what happens during the procedure is important. It will help you be more prepared. You can also know whether your piercer is doing something wrong or they are lacking something.
First things first, your piercer will have to check your tongue to see if it fits the requirements of getting the type of piercing you wish to have. In some cases, you won’t be able to get the kind of piercing you want. For example, you can’t get the frenulum piercing as your frenulum is thin or its structure isn’t able to hold the jewelry.
But if you do get the go-signal here are what should happen.
Step one may be a bit different for other piercers; so if your piercer asked you to do this or did not, it’s actually okay.
The first step for some is to ask you to wash your mouth first with an antibacterial mouthwash. It can surely help in making sure you are safe and free from infection. However, it’s the aftercare that really counts so some piercers do not bother with this step.
You can also do this on your own back at home, provided that you do not eat anything before getting pierced. If you do, it’s much better to wash your mouth again.
The next step is to measure your tongue based on where and how you want it to be pierced. This is to guarantee that the jewelry that will be used is the right length.
If it is short, it can pinch the tongue and cause unnecessary swelling. This is why it is very important to have a professional help you rather than a friend.
Your piercer will have to mark the place where the piercing should be. You’ll be asked to double check, just to make sure that the placement is correct. Remember, once you are pierced, you can’t go back.
After making sure the placing is correct, they will clamp the area. This is to help keep your tongue in place and they can correctly pierce the target. After making the hole, they will slide the jewelry in the hole and then place the studs.
After this, you are ready to leave. The whole procedure usually just takes a few minutes. Then, your piercer will likely give you some advice for the aftercare like what to eat and what you can’t.
NOTE: Don’t have the piercing on the tip or very near it as well as near your teeth. This can cause speech impediments.
How Painful is a Tongue Piercing?
When it comes to piercings, the pain level is pretty much the first thing that we ask about. No one really want to go through something painful where they feel like they are being tortured. Well, unless you really want to get something and are willing to endure the pain.
To be honest, getting a piercing – no matter where you have it – will cause you pain. Some would feel it more while others will feel less, it really depends on your pain tolerance.
However, tongue piercings are said to be one of the least painful of all types of body piercings. In the hands of a professional, the procedure will be quick. That means the initial pain will be a little sting and is definitely tolerable.
What is actually worse is the discomfort and soreness you will feel a few days after having your piercing.Your mouth and tongue is in motion throughout the day. The soreness and discomfort of having a wound will be much worse because of your tongue’s movement.
Everything you do with your mouth will be really uncomfortable for the next few days – even eating. In fact, it’s one of the worst things when getting a tongue piercing. You will have to avoid certain types of food that can cause you pain. That means you will be in a strict diet the first week or so.
What can’t you eat?
What you can and can’t eat can actually depend on you. Some people can eat normally after getting pierced. However, some would rather stick with softer and blander types of foods.
But you will definitely want to avoid spicy foods. The spice will make the area extremely sore and you don’t want that. Apart from that, here are some foods that you will want to avoid if you want to have a less painful post-piercing days.
- Peanut butter or anything sticky
- Hot drinks such as coffee
- Pineapples, lemons, pickles, and anything sour
- Cookies, crackers, chips, and anything crumbly and hard
- Spicy foods such as food with jalapenos and peppers
You should also stay away from alcoholic drinks for a while. Alcoholic drinks can actually disinfect. But these can actually kill skin cells which is important when it comes to the healing of your wound.
What to eat
Again, there are lots of people who eat normally after getting their tongue piercing. But if you do want to make it easier to eat. Here is a list of food that you are free to binge:
- Non acidic fruits
- Non-spicy soup
- Ice cream
- Noodles and instant ramen
- Sandwiches with soft breads and filling
- Salmon or tuna
If you are eating soups or instant ramen, just make sure you do not eat them while they are hot. While that may not be the best way of eating them, you can avoid the discomfort.
And while you may be restricted with your diet, just think that this will be temporary. After your tongue piercing has healed, you are free to eat whatever you want.
That being said, you will definitely not lose your sense of taste. Your tongue is filled with thousands of taste buds and even after being burned, you can still taste food. So no, even a wound won’t stop you from tasting every delicious gourmet around the world.
How Long Does it Heal?
Out of all the body piercings, tongue piercings are rather fast healing. You wouldn’t need to wait for a long while to try out some of the jewelries you bought. You only need to wait an approximate of 2 months before it fully heals.
Tongue web piercings actually heal faster. The general rule of the thumb is the thicker the layer is, the slower it will heal.
However, that may depend on how well you follow your piercer’s aftercare tips. If you get a tongue infection, it will take longer as you have to treat the infection first.
And before your piercing completely heals, be careful not to change your jewelry. There is a chance that your wound would close as you will find it hard to put a jewelry back. In the end, you won’t be able to put anything that will keep the hole open and it would close on its own.
Your piercer will measure your tongue for the perfect size. However, you will likely get a 16-18mm by 1.6 mm straight barbell. This could either be made with surgical stainless steel or titanium. The latter is actually the better option as it is unlikely to trigger any allergic reactions.
Do not choose any type of jewelry, except a straight barbell. Other types are not suitable for this type of piercing. However, you can try a twister barbell when it complete heals and see if you are comfortable with it.
Nonetheless, make sure that your jewelry during the initial process is a high quality straight barbell. And don’t get anything that is not titanium or surgical-grade stainless steel. Make sure that you also choose the correct length. A shorter barbell might cause swelling and discomfort as it has huge chances of pinching your tongue as previously mentioned.
You can choose from various colors available so don’t worry.
Tongue Piercing Aftercare Guide
Perhaps the most vital part of getting a tongue piercing is the aftercare. It is the hardest part as you would be in discomfort for the duration of the whole healing process. But still, you should always be careful with your piercing and make sure it doesn’t get irritated or worse, infected.
To avoid that, cleaning is very important.
You can wash your teeth as you normally would and make sure that you do every after meals. However, do not wash with a mouthwash for a while. It can be extremely painful and harsh. What’s recommended is a sea salt solution. Just mix 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt in one cup of warm water. Use that as gargle twice a day – once in the morning and once before you go to bed.
Here are more tips:
- Watch what you eat.
- Do not put your hands in your mouth as this will greatly enhance your risk of getting infection from bad bacteria and germs. If you really have to, thoroughly wash your hands first.
- Don’t play with your piercing. Just let it heal first before you disturb it.
- Beware of aspirin or paracetamol. These are known to thin the blood or increase swelling. If you still have problems with bleeding, these drugs will make it worse.
- Stop smoking. Not only is it bad for the health but it can also cause irritation, infection, and swelling.
Two main things you should avoid doing to prevent tongue piercing infection is kissing and oral sex.
Kissing is a great way of getting infection as the bacteria from someone’s mouth could enter yours. Plus, it can be extremely uncomfortable especially with the soreness.
Oral sex is a big no no. It is the greatest way of getting infections. You will have to wait for at least three months before you can do so.