Tongue Piercing: The Ultimate Guide for Piercing Enthusiasts

By Tephanie Stephenson / July 17, 2018
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The tongue piercing is amongst the most popular type of piercings there is. It’s cool, it’s hip, and it makes you look like a total badass.

Today, we are going to talk about how to take care of your tongue piercing, what to expect at the shop, how much it would cost you, and many more. Keep on reading and be fully informed!

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Tongue Piercing – The Definition

The tongue piercing is literally what it is. A puncture or hole is made on the tongue to make way for the jewelry, which will be chosen by you. It is just like any other piercing, except it is done on the tongue and inside the mouth.

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Since it is located inside the mouth and it gets wet all the time, it can take a little longer to heal. You also have to follow all of the aftercare instructions given by your piercer to make sure you won’t contract an infection.

The Different Types of Tongue Piercing

There are different types of tongue piercing and in this section, we will discuss what those are.

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The Midline Tongue Piercing

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The midline piercing is the most popular type of tongue piercing amongst all of them. In this piercing, the center of the tongue is pierced by the piercer, which of course, is followed by your preferred jewelry.

The location of the piercing is usually on the outermost of the tongue and done on the center.

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The Side Tongue Piercing

As the name implies, this piercing is usually done on either the right or left side of the tongue. Remember this tip though: if you eat and chew on the right side of your mouth, then you would want to have the left side of your tongue pierced and vice versa.

The Snake Eyes Piercing

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If you look at the snake eyes piercing at an eye level, it literally looks like a snake. This piercing is done by inserting two studs at the front of the tongue. These two studs are actually linked together by one horizontal bar that is inserted right into your tongue.

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It may look like it’s easy to manage, but the snake eyes piercing is actually a bit difficult to keep up with, especially when it comes to the aftercare.

The Horizontal and Vertical Tongue Piercing

The horizontal or vertical tongue piercings are both located in the middle of the tongue. The piercing can either be vertical or horizontal depending on your preference, but remember that only one jewelry will be used for the piercing, although it might look like two different ones.

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Please keep in mind that this piercing is quite dangerous and tedious, which is why piercers usually decline when asked to do this piercing. They can easily damage the nerves on your tongue, leaving you with a much bigger problem.

The Frenulum Piercing

frenulum piercing

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This type of piercing is great if you want to hide it from the public, yet you are still very keen on getting a tongue piercing. The frenulum is located under your actual tongue. It’s that thin skin that you can see when you open your mouth and lift your tongue up.

The frenulum is very sensitive, which means that you will most probably experience a lot of pain when getting yours pierced. Also, not everyone can get this type of piercing. It will ultimately depend on how your frenulum looks like, so make sure to get your doctor and piercer’s clearance before getting it pierced.

What to Expect at the Shop

The first thing that your piercer is going to do is make you sign some consent papers before having you sit down on the piercer’s chair. This will keep them safe from any types of trouble, especially if you ever contract an infection. This is the reason why you should make sure that you are getting your piercing from a reputable piercer.

After this, your piercer is going to look at your tongue and determine if you can undergo the piercing. For web or frenulum piercings, your piercer will take a look at your frenulum and see if you can undergo the piercing. They would most likely explain why you can or cannot get the piercing, so make sure to listen.

vertical tongue piercing

Once you are cleared for the piercing, your piercer will ask you to rinse your mouth or gargle with a mouthwash. This is to make sure that your mouth is clean and ready for the piercing.

After this, your piercer is going to take measurements to make sure that the jewelry to be used for your piercing will be just the right shape and size.

Once all that’s done, the piercer will then take a pair of clamps to hold your tongue during the piercing. This can be a bit uncomfortable, but remember that this will only take a couple of seconds.

The piercer will then make a hole in your tongue (two for other types of tongue piercings), followed by inserting the jewelry on your tongue. After this, he will then sanitize the piercing and give you aftercare instructions to follow.

How Much will the Tongue Piercing Hurt?

Just like any other piercing, the tongue piercing will hurt real bad. Don’t worry though, as this pain will only last for a couple of seconds. You can expect the pain to be a sharp one, but this would just last for a very short while. A tattoo will definitely hurt more, if that’s what you want to compare it to.

The tongue has lots of nerve endings, which means that it will hurt to get it pierced. The pain will be much worse than that of an earlobe piercing, although the tongue is technically soft, which means that it will be easier for your piercer to pierce.

However, the pain after getting the piercing and during the healing period can take a little longer compared to the piercing itself. You can expect to experience some throbbing and tenderness on your tongue for a couple of days. If it lasts for more than that, then go ahead and see a doctor.

Also, remember that since the piercing is inside your mouth, it is going to be a little difficult to eat and drink. It would be best to eat soft types of food such as soup, noodles, and the likes. Avoid chips, crackers, corn on the cob, and food that are hard to eat until your tongue piercing heals completely.

Always follow your aftercare instructions to make sure that you don’t get an infection, which can definitely affect the pain in your tongue piercing.

Tongue Piercing Cost

It’s hard to tell exactly how much the costs of a tongue piercing will be, as all of the piercers and shops have different pricing when it comes to this. The average cost of a tongue piercing is at around $30 – $100, but it still depends on several factors, which we will discuss below.

The Experience of the Piercer

The more experienced the piercer is, the higher the chances of them being a little more expensive than other piercers. On a positive note, you can be sure that you will be safe and free from infection if you decide to go with a reputable piercer. Your main concern should be the piercer’s experience and sanitation, the cost only comes in second.

The Type of Tongue Piercing you are Getting

The midline tongue piercing is definitely cheaper than the snake eyes or frenulum piercing. The latter is harder to perform, thus, the piercer will most likely ask for more if you decide to get these types of piercings. Make sure to look around and see how much your preferred type of tongue piercing would cost on an average and prepare that amount before going to the piercer’s.

The Location of the Shop

The location of the piercer’s shop is a huge factor when it comes to the cost. If you are planning on getting your tongue piercing in a high-end place such as Beverly Hills or Calabasas in California, then chances are you are going to pay a higher amount for your tongue piercing.

The Jewelry

The fancier the jewelry that you will be choosing, the more expensive the total costs of the tongue piercing is going to be. If you do not want to spend too much on jewelry, then you might want to choose something that is made of surgical steel, gold, or titanium.

How to Prepare for your Tongue Piercing

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You definitely want to prepare for your piercing before getting it done. There are ways to do this, so make sure you continue reading.

Rest Properly

If you currently have the flu or you are feeling under the weather, then it would be best for you to cancel the appointment and just reschedule it some other time.

You need to have a strong immune system for your piercing to heal properly and fast. Before the day of the piercing, make sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep. You would also need to drink at least 8 glasses of water to boost your immune system and keep your body hydrated.

Visit your Doctor

You would want to visit your doctor and ask them if it would be safe for you to get your tongue pierced. If you have certain illnesses such as diabetes, then your doctor might decide that it should be a no-go, as diabetes will affect the healing of your piercing.

You should also get yourself tested for allergies regarding metals, just to be safe about the jewelry that will be used for your tongue piercing.

Stay Away from Drugs and Alcohol

Drugs can make you feel lethargic and sick, while alcohol can thin your blood out. Both of these are bad for your health, especially when you are trying to get a piercing.

Make sure to stay away from drugs and alcohol at least a few days before you get your piercing, as you definitely do not want your piercing to bleed out uncontrollably.

Good Hygiene

Before leaving your house and going to the piercer’s, make sure that you have brushed your teeth thoroughly. This is to make sure that nothing will obstruct the piercing, as well as common courtesy to your piercer.

Go Grocery Shopping

You might need to get used to eating soft types of food while your tongue piercing is healing. You would want to stock up on yogurt, soup, pudding, mashed potatoes, and noodles. You can also give yourself some treat and get some ice cream!

While you’re at it, you can also buy some aftercare products for your piercing. Get some sea salt for cleaning the piercing, as well as tissue, cotton balls, and pads.

How to Clean your Tongue Piercing

Your piercer will most likely discuss the aftercare guide for your tongue piercing right after getting it done, but just in case, we are giving you some tips on how to do it, too.

First, get the sea salt that you bought from the grocery shop. Next, get a cup of hot water. Put in one-fourth teaspoon of sea salt in the hot water until you’ve seen it dissolve completely.

cute girl with tongue piercing

Next, take the mixture and gargle inside your mouth for at least a minute. Do this twice every day: once in the morning and once in the evening. This will help promote healthy healing, as well as keep your tongue piercing infection-free.

The Healing Period of a Tongue Piercing

The tongue heals itself pretty quickly, which means that it wouldn’t take your piercing that long to heal. For most people, the tongue piercing will heal in a matter of just 6 – 8 weeks. This is surprisingly fast compared to any other piercing there is.

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The thing to remember is to never take out your jewelry until your piercing is completely healed. Leaving your piercing free from the jewelry, even after just a couple of hours, can cause it to close permanently.

Make sure to follow the aftercare instructions to make sure your tongue piercing will heal fast.

Things to Do After Getting the Piercing

Now, these things are very important, especially if you want your piercing to heal fast. Make sure to follow our tips below to keep your tongue piercing in its best shape.

Your Eating Habit

You would have to change your eating habit for a couple of weeks until your tongue piercing is completely healed.

Eat soft types of food such as yogurt, noodles, soup, mashed potatoes, and the likes. You should also drink lots of water to promote healing. Refrain from eating food that is difficult to chew until your piercing has healed completely.

Avoid Drinking Hot Beverages

You would also want to avoid drinking hot beverages such as hot tea, coffee, and the likes. This can make your piercing swell up, which you definitely would want to avoid. Make sure to drink cold beverages, including lots of water, to keep the swelling down.

vertical tongue piercing

Do Not Eat Certain Types of Food

While your tongue piercing is healing, you would want to avoid eating certain types of food that can irritate your piercing. This includes spicy food and citrusy food such as lemon, lime, and oranges. You should also avoid drinking alcohol as of the moment, as this can further irritate the wound.

Clean it Properly

Always remember to use an antiseptic mouthwash, brush your teeth regularly, and rinse with the sea salt water solution every morning and night to avoid getting an infection and to promote faster healing for your tongue piercing.

Avoid Playing with the Jewelry

Do not touch your jewelry or play with it while it is still in its healing period. You might contaminate it, leaving you with an infection that can be difficult to cure.

If you have to touch it, then make sure to wash your hands first to avoid contracting an infection.

Refrain from Making Out and Giving Oral Sex

Your tongue and mouth are completely sensitive while it is still in the healing process, so make sure to avoid oral sex and making out until it is completely healed.

Avoid Smoking

If you are a heavy smoker, then you would not want to get a tongue piercing, as you would have to avoid smoking for a couple of weeks until your piercing wound is completely healed.

The nicotine in cigarettes can irritate your tongue piercing and can even cause an infection. Stay away from smoking until your wound is healed completely.

Tongue Piercing Infections, Risks, and Symptoms

Just like any other piercing, the tongue piercing is prone to infections. This is the main reason why you have to be super careful and follow your aftercare instructions to a T. Want to know the symptoms and risks of getting a tongue piercing? Then keep on reading.

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Risks

Here are some risks associated with the tongue piercing.

Diseases

It’s very easy to contract a disease through used and unsanitized needles. You should always check and see if your piercer uses a brand new needle for your tongue piercing. If not, then run fast.

This is the reason why you should choose your piercer well. Get your piercing from reputable and well-sanitized shop to prevent contracting an infection and disease.

Gums can Recede

When you get a big jewelry for your tongue piercing, there is a high chance that your gums will recede. Your jewelry will rub and scrape your gums – it’s just inevitable. Gums are there to protect our teeth, and with the addition of a tongue piercing, you definitely put your gums at risk.

Teeth can Break

Our teeth are strong, but if you constantly knock a metal into it, then it can eventually break. This can happen when you are eating or talking, so make sure to be extra careful when doing both.

Also, choosing a smaller type of jewelry can help with preventing teeth breakage.

An Infection

Of course, there is a risk of infection for tongue piercings. This can happen with any type of piercing, but is highly likely with tongue piercings, especially if you are not careful.

Always follow your aftercare instructions and rinse your mouth properly to avoid contracting an infection.

Excessive Bleeding

Your tongue has large blood vessels, which means that you can lose a lot of blood if your piercer pierces through the wrong location.

It’s easy to miss the right spot, so make sure you are getting your piercing from a trained and licensed tongue piercer.

Accidentally Swallowing your Jewelry

You definitely do not want to accidentally swallow your jewelry, as this can cause serious problems.

For some, it can be nothing as it just goes through their digestive systems. For those who are unlucky though, it can be a problem, as the jewelry might get stuck and cause internal bleeding.

If you swallowed your jewelry, head on to the nearest emergency room and ask your doctor what you should do.

Symptoms

There are a few symptoms that you should watch out for after getting your tongue piercing. If you notice any of these happening to you, then head on to the doctor’s office right away.

Tongue Discoloration

If your tongue turns blue, purple, or any other color, then it is time to head to the emergency room.

This might mean that a serious problem or infection is going on inside your mouth and tongue, and this should be attended to immediately.

Discharge and Abnormal Bleeding

White discharge and a little bit of bleeding are normal right after getting your tongue piercing. If it lasts for a couple of days though, and the discharge turns yellow or green, then that’s something that you should be alarmed of.

Visit your doctor right away if you notice any yellow or green discharge as well as excessive bleeding in your tongue.

Tenderness and Redness

Both of these are quite normal after getting your piercing. However, if the area is still red, throbbing, and tender even after a few days or even a week after getting the piercing, then it might be time to visit your nearest doctor.

This might mean that you have an infection, most especially if it is accompanied by fever.

Swelling

Your tongue will definitely be a bit swollen right after the piercing. However, if it swells to the point that you are having difficulty with your breathing, then it is time to visit the emergency room.

You should not experience any type of massive discomfort when it comes to the swelling of your tongue. Sure, you will have difficulty eating, but that should be it. If the swelling does not go down and continues to go way worse, then it is time to visit the hospital.

Pictures

Below, we have compiled some tongue piercing pictures that you might want to look at and get some inspiration from!

A cute snake eye piercing done on a female model.

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A horizontal piercing done on a female model.

A simple midline piercing.

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Here is a cute jewelry used for a midline tongue piercing.

The most popular type of tongue piercing – the midline piercing.

simple midline tongue piercing

A simple tongue piercing modeled by a beautiful girl.

basic tongue piercing

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A long type of jewelry was used for this tongue piercing.


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About the author

Tephanie Stephenson

Tephanie has extensive knowledge when it comes to body and facial piercings. She has seen it all – from nostril piercings all the way to nipple piercings. She has over 10 piercings including a nostril, medusa, eyebrow, tragus, earlobe, and industrial. She is an expert when it comes to cleaning piercings and keeping it infection-free. If you have got any questions for Tephanie about any type of piercing, comment it down below and she will get back to you in a jiffy!

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