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How Much Do Tongue Piercings Hurt?

illustrated tongue clamped with forceps for a piercing procedure
 

If you’ve ever been curious about a tongue piercing but wince at the thought of a needle going through your tongue, we’re here to demystify and relieve your anxiety about this popular piercing. Read on for information about tongue piercing pain, placement, and tongue piercing jewelry.
 

How Bad Do Tongue Piercings Hurt?illustrated icon of glowing red straight barbell with electricity

As with any body piercing, there will be some pain as the piercing needle passes through the flesh. But if you’re worried that a tongue piercing will hurt much worse than that time you accidentally bit it while eating a bagel, you might be mistaken. A professional piercer using a sterile 14-gauge piercing needle will have the job done quickly, and many people report that the most painful part of the tongue piercing process is actually the swelling as it heals. Of course, every person’s pain tolerance varies, but you can expect tongue piercing pain to be comparable to getting a flu shot or other injection.
 

Types of Tongue Piercingsillustrated tongue icon with multiple piercings

There are a few different types of tongue piercings that you can have done, but by far the most common is a midline piercing, which passes through the center of the tongue. Other tongue piercing placements could be off to one side, horizontally through the tip of the tongue (also called a snake eyes piercing), or through the frenulum beneath the tongue.

Be sure to discuss placements and preferences with your piercer, and keep in mind that not everyone’s anatomy will be suitable for all tongue piercings. If you have a particularly short tongue or thick webbing and vein structures on the underside of your tongue, your placement options might be more limited.
 

Tongue Piercing Jewelryillustrated straight barbell icon

When you first pierce your tongue, your piercer will most likely install a 14-gauge straight barbell. This is the most common and comfortable type of tongue ring, and it offers plenty of versatility and customization once your tongue piercing is fully healed.
 

illustrated hands and soap bottle iconTongue Piercing Healing and Aftercare

As with all body piercings, proper aftercare is crucial to ensure the health and longevity of your new tongue piercing. Your tongue will likely be a little swollen and irritated for the first 3-5 days after it is pierced, but tongue piercings heal relatively quickly. The typical healing time is between 3-6 weeks if you follow the proper aftercare steps outlined below:

  • Always wash your hands before handling your piercing or jewelry
  • Brush your teeth regularly and rinse with a piercing aftercare mouthwash or sea salt rinse
  • Avoid smoking and alcoholic beverages until the piercing is fully healed
  • Avoid intense kissing, oral sex, or other contacts that could expose your tongue piercing to bacteria until it is fully healed

Check out our online store for more tongue rings and tongue piercing jewelry options, and our PainfulPleasures blog for features and information on all things piercing, tattoo, and body mod-related.