You rarely ever see an actual ring in a tongue piercing--although it isn't an impossibility, as you can see in the photo to the right--yet most people refer to the body jewelry worn in tongue piercings as "tongue rings". Why? Possibly because "tongue rings" rolls off the tongue more smoothly than "tongue barbells" (pun intended). However the phrase came about, most people know that when someone says "tongue ring", they're actually talking about a straight tongue barbell.
A single tongue piercing consists of a single straight barbell through the center of the tongue. To avoid damaging the nerve system, tongue rings are generally placed vertically at the center of the tongue, in front of the "webbing" or lingual frenulum, which attaches the tongue to the bottom of the mouth. Alternately, pairs of "snake bite" piercings could be done on either side of the center, giving the appearance of fangs. "Venom piercings" are a pair of tongue rings set slightly further back on the tongue that are less likely to damage the teeth. Depending on the type of tongue piercing you choose, you may need 1 or 2 tongue barbells. Some people may even have 3 or 4 tongue piercings and need additional barbells, which you can find in the Straight Barbells section of our site.
Starter Tongue Barbells
When you first get your tongue pierced, your piercer will likely outfit you with an overly-long tongue barbell to allow room for swelling. If your starter tongue barbell is too short, causing the top and bottom balls to press into your tongue, that pressure can lead to necrosis (i.e. tissue death), which can eventually cause infection if it continues for too long. Ideally, you should keep your extra-long starter tongue barbell in for at least 4-6 weeks, so you're past the point where you're likely to have significant swelling. Even after that point, you may occasionally have swelling if food particles get trapped in your fistula (i.e. hole where you were pierced), your tongue barbell gets roughly pushed around when you're eating, or even for no apparent reason. However, once you've had your tongue pierced for at least a month with no recurring issues, you should be able to safely switch to a shorter tongue barbell.
You should have your piercer help you the first time you change your tongue piercing jewelry. Your tongue will likely still be sensitive and easily irritated, so you want to make the switch as quickly and smoothly as possible--something an experienced professional will be able to do more easily than you could do on your own. You can either buy a new barbell from your piercer, or you can take one in with you and have your piercer sterilize it in an autoclave before inserting it for you. Note that there may be a small fee to change your jewelry if you don't purchase your new barbell from your piercer, but you'll have a lot more options if you buy your tongue ring online... especially if you get one from Painful Pleasures!
Tongue Ring Options
We have one of the world's largest selections of tongue rings, with more choices for style, length and gauge combinations than you'll find nearly anywhere else online. We offer many of our tongue rings in any gauge and in lengths ranging from 1/4" - 2". With the hundreds of straight barbells we offer and the almost limitless ways you can customize them by choosing the length, gauge, balls or other ends, and material you prefer, you're sure to find a tongue ring you'll love and that will fit you perfectly. We can even sterilize your new tongue barbell, so it's ready to insert as soon as you receive it. Peruse some of our favorite tongue rings and tongue barbell ends below, or view all of our straight barbells now.
Tongue Barbell Ends
If you want to customize your tongue barbell but don't want to change the whole thing, just replace the balls with our cool tongue ring ends!
Looking for a cool new tongue ring to replace your starter tongue barbell? Check out our most unique tongue ring options below!
Choosing the Right Size & Style Tongue Ring
If your current tongue ring is the right fit for your mouth, you want to make sure any new tongue rings you buy are the same length. When measuring your tongue barbell, be sure to measure between the balls; don't measure the entire length of the jewelry from end-to-end with the balls on, and don't measure the threading. Only the part that will be in your tongue piercing needs to be measured. If your current barbell is a little too long for you, you might want to try getting a barbell that's just a fraction of an inch shorter. Until you find the perfect length barbell for your mouth, you might even consider buying a few shafts in varying lengths that you can mix and match with your favorite balls or other ends.
We recommend purchasing internally-threaded straight barbells for tongue piercings, because an externally-threaded barbell can scrape the fistula when you insert it in your tongue piercing. In terms of material, stainless steel and titanium are your best choices, because they're the most inert metals and the least likely to cause an allergic reaction. If you're concerned about chipping your teeth or causing your gum line to recede by wearing a metal barbell, you might consider getting a PTFE flexible tongue ring or an acrylic tongue ring (i.e. a metal shaft with acrylic ends).
There are a couple ways you can pick the right tongue ring for you. You can either choose from one of our preset tongue ring options, or you can buy parts to come up with a truly custom tongue ring. There are SO many different types of balls and other ends to choose from; why not pick a few of your favorites and mix and match with a standard shaft to come up with your perfect tongue ring? (Note: You may also want to purchase a couple converter pieces to change our 14g externally-threaded shafts into internally-threaded ones that won't scrape your fistula and that can be paired with our hundreds of tops for internally threaded 14g body jewelry.)
Here are a few links to specific types of tongue rings and accessories you might be interested in seeing:
Clear Tongue Ring Retainer
Pink Tongue Ring Retainers
Picture Logo Tongue Rings
Jeweled Tongue Rings