Everything you need to know before piercing your tongue

“Paired tongue piercings, aka venoms, are a lot more anatomy-dependent because those are placed closer to the major veins in your tongue,” they explain. “So we have to make sure that there’s space around that blood flow for them to be placed safely.”

Like any piercing, you should expect pain, and though it’s subjective, Loheide and Myers both swear that a tongue piercing is not as bad as you might think. “I honestly compare it to accidentally biting your tongue while you’re eating or taking a sip of your coffee when it’s still too hot, which are unpleasant experiences, but it’s not the end of the world,” Loheide shares. 

In fact, they say that the most uncomfortable part is having the piercer’s hands in your mouth for an extended amount of time. Myers notes that on a scale of one to 10, most of her client’s rate standard tongue piercings between a one to three, and paired tongue piercings a three to five.

What does aftercare for a tongue piercing look like? 

There are a few things to expect immediately after your piercing. If you’ve been pierced before, some of these won’t be too shocking, but there are certain effects that are specific to tongue piercings. 

Right after your appointment, expect your tongue to be a bit swollen and painful for about one to two weeks, according to Loheide. That’s naturally going to happen because the piercing is a fresh wound. In addition to the pain and swelling, you’ll also deal with a slight lisp or change in how you speak. “After about a week, the swelling will go down, and then the rest of the healing process is pretty easy,” they share.

Myers estimates that for a single tongue piercing, it will take about one to three months and three to five for paired piercings. “Because the tongue is so vascular, it has a lot of blood flow to it, so it heals really quickly,” she says. On the other hand, Loheide says to expect it to take about three to five months to be fully healed.

Thankfully, the aftercare for tongue piercings isn’t too complicated. In general, maintaining good oral hygiene — brushing your teeth regularly and flossing — is important. Once you get home, Loheide recommends immediately changing out your toothbrush for a new one and using milder oral hygiene products. They advise avoiding toothpaste with whitening ingredients.

Both piercers strongly suggest using an alcohol-free mouthwash that won’t burn your mouth. Loheide likes Biotene Dry Mouth Oral Rinse because it doesn’t taste as bad as some alcohol-free mouthwashes do, it’s affordable, and can be found in most drug stores. Myers also recommends a sterile saline solution, which tends to be recommended for most piercings.

Apart from switching up your oral products, you may have to change what you eat, but only for a short while. Myers suggests avoiding spicy, crunchy, and acidic foods in the first few weeks to avoid irritation. “Things that you wouldn’t [want on] a paper cut, basically, you don’t want to eat the first few weeks of a tongue piercing, because it will cause serious discomfort,” she says.


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