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Tongue Piercing

Category: Tongue Piercing
Posted: 20-03-2014 10:06

Tongue piercing dates back to 700BC, the first people being the Mayans and later the Aztecs, who only allowed High Priests and Royalty to have pierced tongues! Now it is a very widely practised piercing.



Tongue piercings usually are vertical and a barbell is worn through the centre of the tongue (although very slightly off centre underneath to avoid cutting through the fraenum) almost 2cm back from the tip of the tongue.  The top is normally slightly further back than the bottom so that the bar will lean away from the teeth allowing slightly more room in the mouth.


Healing Times

Tongue piercings usually take at least 2 months to heal. The extent of initial swelling will vary from person to person and sucking ice cubes during this phase of the healing process usually helps reduce this.  As a general rule, the worst swelling usually occurs 3-4 days after the piercing.  It is important during the healing time to take care during eating and also to maiting oral hygiene.

If the barbell is removed for any reason for a short time, it is possible that it may not go back in the piercing, the tongue has an amazing healing ability and so this should be taken into consideration. 


Types of Jewellery and Sizes

Straight Barbells are usually worn in tongue piercings, piercers normally fit a 1.6mm (14g) barbell when the initial piercing is carried out, they allow a longer barbell to allow for swelling.  It is recomended that you return to the piercer within 1-3 weeks to have a shorter barbell fitted as the swelling reduces (usually 2-4mm shorter than the original bar).

It is very important that you wear correctly fitting jewellery, if the bar that you wear is too tight you may develop dents on the surface of the tongue and if it is too long it could cause the tongue to split or may even cause dental problems.

There are lots of different styles of Tongue Jewellery available including Logo Bars, Studs, Novelty items and Vibrating Tongue Bars, we sometimes get asked what is suitable to wear for an X Ray, MRI Scan or hospital procedure, we recommend these Acrylic Tongue Retainers which have no metal content at all.  They are also suitable for use during job interviews, work, school or college to hide piercings which some people may find unsuitable or inappropriate.



It is important that you consider the risks of having a tongue piercing, if you go ahead please do look after the piercing to minimise the chance of suffering from any of these problems.  It has been reported by Dental Professionals that Tongue Piercings can cause problems such as chipped teeth, tooth loss, gum damage, nerve damage, taste loss.

Bacteria from the tongue can also pass into the bloodstream when the tongue is pierced which can cause serious infections so we recommend that you make sure that you go to a reputable piercing studio and discuss their sterilisation process to make sure that you are happy before you have the piering done.  Also discuss aftercare with them, make sure that you use an appropriate mouthwash several times a day.  If you have any concerns at all please do ask the piercer or if necessary a doctor or dentist.

It is also important that you regularly check that the balls / ends of the jewellery are tightened to the bar regularly, to avoid them being swallowed.


Other Tongue Piercings

Another type of Tongue Piercing is the Tongue Web, or Lingua Fraenum, which is a horizontal piercing through the lower tongue fraenum (underneath the tongue) in the flesh that joins the tongue with the mouth.

Venom Bites is the name given to tongue piercings placed side by side:

Venom Bites Tongue Piercing

These piercings can be slightly more painful than a central tongue piercing.


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