Tongue Piercings

Location:Tongue
Jewellery:Barbell
Healing:4-6 Weeks

Looking to get an oral piercing? Tongue piercings are one of the most popular piercings performed today and they create an awesomely alternative look. Read on to find out everything you need to know about tongue piercings...
Above: Tongue piercing with a purple titanium Labret

Tongue Piercing 101

Tongue piercing is now widely accepted in Western culture having gained it's popular reputation throughout the late 90's and 2000's, however it's origins are actually found in ancient times.

The first recordings of tongue piercings are from the Aztecs and Mayans where depictions suggest that it was priests who first performed tongue piercings. The priests would pierce through their tongues and collect the blood or run rough cords and materials through the hole to inflict great pain; both of these ritualswere thought to show honor and commitment to God. Although it wasn't until later when the idea of permanent tongue piercings as body modifications were introduced.

Far from it's ritualistic religious beginnings, the tongue piercing is now viewed as a mainstream body modification and allows the wearer to create an individual look by customising their jewellery.

There are varying different types of tongue piercings, the two main types being:
  • Central Tongue Piercing (The most common type of tongue piercing in the middle of the tongue)
  • Venom Tongue Piercings (Two piercings placed horizontally in the middle or towards the tip of the tongue)
You can also opt for either a single or a double tongue piercing, double piercings are usually done at different times, allowing each one to heal before having the next one.

Procedure

Before your piercer can pierce your tongue you will be asked to show valid photographic identification to prove you are old enough for the piercing. 

The process for tongue piercing is as follows:
  • The piercer will look carefully at the underside of your tongue, possibly by using a light, to establish any blood vessels and select a safe place to pierce (Please note: some individuals may not be suitable for a tongue piercing due to the placement of veins in the tongue)
  • The piercer will mark the placement with a pen and use a small clamp to hold the tongue still
  • Using a cannula (hollow needle with a thin tube attached to the end, the piercer will pierce through the tongue either from top to bottom or bottom to top, depending on their preference
  • The piercing will usually be situated with the top being a little further back than the bottom, allowing the bar to 'lean' in the mouth. This will help to accommodate the bar in the slightly larger area of the mouth and also help to avoid any damage to the teeth.
  • The piercer will fasten the barbell with a ball and the piercing is complete.
The piercer will use a larger barbell than usual in the fresh piercing to allow room for any swelling, which you can replace with a shorter version once it is healed.

Pain

Most people describe tongue piercings as a pretty tolerable. It is similar to the sensation of biting your tongue only a sharper pain with a shorter duration. The amount of pain felt with tongue piercings is quite low, however it is one of the few piercings that tend to be fairly sore afterwards during initial healing.

You can relieve the soreness of a tongue piercing by eating and drinking cool, soft foods and drinks like ice cream and smoothies.

Healing

Because of the nature of the tongue, it is relatively fast-healing which is good news for trying to heal your piercing nicely; however if you want to keep your piercing you should never remove the bar as the piercing will close up very quickly.

Tongue piercings should heal within approximately 4-8 weeks but can be longer depending on the individual.

During the initial healing of your tongue piercing it is really important to follow the oral aftercare instructions given to you by your piercer. Here are a few tips to help ensure your piercing heals smoothly:
  • Avoid eating spicy foods
  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid kissing (bacteria from other mouths could cause infection)
  • Eat/Drink cool foods (like ice-cream and smoothies)
  • Clean your piercing twice a day with saltwater soaks
  • Use mouthwash and maintan good dental hygeine
  • Never touch your piercing without washing your hands
A small amount of clear/white liquid, swelling and soreness is normal for tongue piercings, however if swelling and soreness persists, the tongue is red and inflamed or you notice and yellow/green discharge, please visit your piercer as soon as possible for an assessment.

Jewellery

Tongue piercings look best when worn with a barbell. The great thing about this piercing is that once it has healed you can customise it completely by changing the top (visible) ball and there are so many different options available! From pretty gems to novelty characters, there is a tongue bar for everyone.

To view the full collection, click here.

Article Disclaimer: The information contained here within is based on our experience as one of the UK’s largest piercing chains. Please note that each individual’s experiences will be subjective and therefore each person will have a different experience of pain, healing and maintenance. For more information, please view our article guides terms and conditions page.

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