Everything You Need to Know Before Getting a Tongue Piercing

Every Question You Have, Answered

Ready to take your tongue game to the next level?

Don’t fret, we’ve got the inside scoop on all things tongue piercings!

From their fascinating history to the nitty-gritty of what to expect during your appointment, we’ve got you covered.

And with a variety of jewelry options available, we’re here to help you find the perfect piece to suit your style.

So, sit tight and get ready to learn everything you need to know about tongue piercings!

What is a Tongue Piercing?

A tongue piercing is any modification of the tongue that involves a piece of jewellery creating an entry and exit wound through the tongue.

There are many different styles of tongue piercings, some we offer here at North York Ink and some we do not for good reason, we will get into all of that later.

The History of the Tongue Piercing

Tongue piercings can be traced back as far as the Mayans of Central America and the Ancient Aztecs. Mayan people would pierce their tongues by bloodletting for ceremonies and rituals.

The idea behind this practice was more religious than it was artistic or decorative. It was meant to honor the gods by inflicting pain, thus proving one’s honor. 

Fast forward to the 1980s, when blockbuster movies and MTV played a primary role in reshaping pop culture.

Paving the way for hyper self-expression and the extreme fashion the 80s was known for – welcome to the Punk rock and Roll era. 

If you were asked to draw a picture of what you thought a rockstar’ from the 80s looked like, assuming that the demographic reading this is hoping to find information on the dangers of getting a tongue piercing is under 30 – the 80s are ancient history.

My money’s on you drawing a picture of a malnourished 30 something year old who looks 50 something, draped in spike studded leather, with a mohawk in one of the three primary colours (red, yellow, blue – in case you didn’t know), fully tattooed and you guessed it, a TON of piercings. 

This era of self-expression, loud music, and extreme fashion set the tone for our piercing styles today.

Fortunately, a lot has changed from what seems like ancient history and ACTUAL ancient history when it comes to tongue piercings.

Tongue piercings are one of those piercings – like the septum, that can be hidden (to an extent) if you want to keep it away from judgy eyes.

Because let’s face it – unless someone is staring directly into your mouth, it is often easy to miss.

However, it is also one of those piercings that command attention when noticed, a great addition to your collection.

Regardless of what side of the fence you are on, here is everything you need to know before scheduling your appointment to get your tongue pierced at North York Ink.

What to Expect from My Tongue Piercing Appointment

At North York Ink, we always recommend that you are well rested and have had a meal within the last 1-2 hours before your piercing appointment.

For tongue piercings, we suggest brushing your teeth and tongue before coming in. 

We will also give you mouthwash for you to rinse your mouth out with before we start the procedure. 

Most of the appointment will consist of the piercer prepping and actually checking your tongue and surrounding teeth to see if the piercing is doable.

Not every tongue is suitable for a tongue piercing. 

For example: 

  • If your tongue is too short or if you have a tongue tie, we will not pierce you. 
  • In some more severe circumstances, if one of the two major veins in your tongue runs in the center of the desired positioning for the piercing, we will not pierce you. 

If punctured, it can cause significant damage.

The professional piercer will walk you through the risks associated with the piercing, discuss all of the aftercare instructions, and will answer any questions you may have beforehand.

What Are the Different Kinds of Tongue Piercings?

The piercing procedure and tools used for each style varies.

Below we have put together a comprehensive list of the different types of tongue piercings and the procedures that each requires:

Midline Tongue

The midline tongue piercing is the most common.

The procedure (similar to the rest of the styles) involves clamping the appendage with forceps to hold the tissue. And for a lack of a better word – is the safest.

With that being said, it is important to note that there are risks associated with ALL tongue piercings. We will dive into that later.

  • Placement: The midline tongue piercing is placed in the center of the tongue with a straight barbell.
  • Needle Size: The needle used to perform this procedure is usually a hollow 16-gauge piercing needle.
  • Healing Period: Healing time is about 6-9 weeks.

Snake Eyes

The Snake Eye piercing pierces your tongue horizontally through the tip of the tongue.

Though similar to the venom piercing, the venom piercing is located more on the sides of the tongue and uses two separate barbells to give the look of a surface piercing on your tongue.

  • Needle Size: This piercing, like most tongue piercings, is performed with a hollow 14 gauge piercing needle.
  • Healing Period: Healing time is about 4-6 weeks.

Venom Piercing

The venom piercing consists of two entry points on each side of the tongue and is usually located between the middle of the tongue and the tip of the tongue.

The venom piercing is often referred to as a ‘side tongue’ piercing.

  • Needle Size: The venom piercing is usually performed with a hollow 16 gauge piercing needle.
  • Healing Period: Healing time is about 4-8 weeks.

Tongue Frenulum or ‘Web Piercing’

The ‘web piercing’ runs through the webbing that connects your tongue to the floor of your mouth located underneath your tongue.

  • Needle Size: This piercing is usually performed with a hollow 16 to 20-gauge piercing needle.
  • Healing Period: Healing time is about 8-10 weeks.

Each piercing has a different recommended piece of jewelry, some are interchangeable. You can learn more about the different kinds of piercing jewellery here.

What Are the Dangers/Risks of Getting Your Tongue Pierced?

Now that you have a fair understanding of the different kinds of tongue piercings, the procedures associated with each piercing, and the healing times – let’s jump right into the risks and the dangers associated with each piercing.

It is ALWAYS important to DO YOUR RESEARCH and find piercing professionals that know what they are doing, regardless of the type of piercing you want to get.

It is even more important to make sure that the piercer doing your tongue piercing knows exactly what they are doing.

There are so many risks associated with piercings in general, but tongue piercings take the cake. 

Here is a list of potential risks/dangers that can transpire after getting your tongue piercing:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Blood clots
  • Blood poisoning
  • Brain abscess
  • Chronic pain
  • Damaged nerves (trigeminal neuralgia)
  • Fractured/cracked teeth
  • Heart infections
  • Hypersensitivity reactions (to the metal bar)
  • Periodontal disease/gum recession
  • Problems enunciating
  • Scarring

…are you still there? I would totally understand if any of what I just said might have scared you away.

It is important to note that if you are experiencing any of these symptoms or side effects, consult a physician.

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, visit the ER. There is not much your piercer will be able to do for you at this point. 

The fact of the matter is there are ways to prevent all of this from happening, but they are not all bulletproof.

Which is why we recommend doing your research and finding a piercing studio that knows the risks, informs you of the risks, and may even try to talk you out of it a little bit.

A piercer with a moral compass that points away from earning a quick buck, be mindful of those studios that charge something crazy like $20 for ANY piercing on a given day of the week, some discounts are okay – we gotta give back.

What is the Aftercare Process for Tongue Piercings?

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve more than likely got your mind made.

You’re getting a tongue piercing, and there is nothing that some random person on the internet can tell you to change it.

I get it, I do, but hear me out…at least let me tell you how to take care of it. 

Expect your tongue to be swollen, limiting your oral mobility for the first week to two weeks.

The piercing aftercare for any piercing is extremely important, and they all generally follow the same parameters.

The tongue, however, is a little different.

In order to effectively take care of your piercing and reduce the risk of infection, unlike other piercings, you may have to limit certain foods and liquids you ingest regularly. 

This might be a good time to start that diet you’ve been dreading since the new year.

In all seriousness, the aftercare itself is very straightforward, but being disciplined and consistent is the name of the game.

These two things will ensure a safe and healthy healing process – as long as everything before this point has gone smoothly. 

See below for our North York Ink recommended aftercare instructions:

  • Do a saline rinse of your tongue piercing after every meal or snack and before bed. An antibacterial, nonalcoholic mouthwash is also acceptable. We suggest at least 2-3 times a day, even if you haven’t eaten.
  • Avoid oral contact with another person, there are about 6 billion bacteria in the average human being’s mouth…you do the math.
  • Do not share anything that touches anyone else’s mouth if that wasn’t clear enough with the 6 billion bacteria…
  • When you eat, take small bites.
  • Avoid salty, acidic, or spicy foods and drinks.
  • Avoid hot drinks, like coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.

Like I said, it won’t necessarily be easy, but it does not need to be difficult. 

And again, if you notice any signs of infection, go see your doc!

Dive into the World of Tongue Piercings at North York Ink!

If you’re thinking of getting a tongue piercing, you’re in luck!

At North York Ink, our piercing professionals have a wide variety of jewelry options to match your unique style, whether you’re looking to channel your inner deity or show off your personality.

Don’t wait any longer – book your appointment today and join the tongue-pierced elite!

If you have any questions at all regarding your tongue piercing, feel free to contact us at info@northyorkink.com or call us at 647 501 8222.

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Welcome to North York Ink! A local tattoo & piercing studio providing the community of North York with quality tattoos and piercings close to home. When hard work and devotion merge with passion and creativity, the possibilities are endless.