TONGUE PIERCING AFTERCARE


Your tongue may not think that it’s normal to have a piece of metal lodged in it, even though it was done under aseptic conditions. We use sterile 316L (implant grade surgical steel ), and a sterile needle. The only source of potential infection could come from you; therefore, proper aftercare is a priority .

Once your tongue is pierced, your body should immediately do some blood clotting at the site of the wound, and use its other mechanisms to help it heal. A mild irritating sting,, usually located on the underside of the tongue at the point where the needle came through, is normal during the first day or so. A significant amount of swelling of the entire tongue, and a small amount of blood at the piercing are also normal. A normal piercing could get tender after a few days, as a result of the constant swelling that usually occurs. A piercing creates a wound. You will have a wound through your tongue. Don’t play with the jewelry with dirty fingers. Keep your mouth clean. Use antiseptic mouthwash often. WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU USE A MIXTURE OF HALF WATER AND HALF ANTISEPTIC MOUTHWASH. You will need to rinse your mouth out with it after you eat ,drink (except water) , or smoke. If you use antiseptic mouthwash that is blue, your tongue may , after a few days, appear green. If you use mouthwash that is yellow, your tongue may appear somewhat yellow. The tissues of your mucous membranes are only being stained by excessive mouthwash use. This condition is O.K., however, you may want to rinse with mouthwash less often if the discoloration persists; which means you may need to do less snacking or smoking, which will require less rinsing. Stay well hydrated during your healing process, and drink plenty of water.

Your tongue piercing may itch after a few days. Don’t scratch at it, pick at it, and try not to play with it while it is healing. DO clean it in the evening before you go to bed with a Q-tip and Hydrogen Peroxide, and again in the morning before going out. Clean the holes on top and bottom with a Peroxide soaked Q-tip, and try to remove any nasty buildup that will occur on the balls of the jewelry and on the shaft that may be exposed, but especially on the bottom of the tongue at the piercing site and on the jewelry. CHECK THE BALLS ON THE JEWELRY AND MAKE SURE THAT THEY ARE FINGER TIGHT. After a few days you will probably notice a bump or callous at the piercing site on top, and almost always on the bottom. This is a mound of dead cells that usually takes a week or so to go away. Using the peroxide will help clear the dead skin and cells away. When cleaning, move the jewelry around a little and rotate it so the skin won’t try to attach itself to it. By no means should you rinse or gargle with peroxide, as this will only kill a lot of normal healthy cells.


Discomfort usually comes in sessions and is not constant. Younger people seem to suffer less than older people with tongue piercing. Ibuprofen is the drug of choice. (Advil, or generic). It will relieve the discomfort and decrease swelling. Aspirin or Tylenol are not recommended as they tend to interfere with normal clotting. ICE WILL HELP A LOT AND SHOULD BE USED TO CHILL THE TONGUE AS SOON AS PRACTICAL--- like, when you get home. You can put ice in your mouth as often as you want. Your local pharmacy will carry a few different oral wound care preparations. We recommend GLYOXIDE for those who are in excessive discomfort from the soreness. Glyoxide applied to the wound will quickly relieve pain. The trade off is that it will make you drool or swallow excessively for a while. It may be worth it. The general consensus from people who have had difficult recoveries from tongue piercing is that the worst discomfort and most complaining comes 5 or 6 days after the piercing. If you fall into this group, be assured that your tongue will soon be back to normal size. It is the size and the swelling that seems to cause the discomfort. It is difficult to eat your normal meals when your tongue takes up that much space in your mouth. Try to focus on things that you can easily eat like soft foods, yogurt, ice cream, jello, etc. If you want to eat steak, chops or other whole foods, you can cut or break it into small cubes or chunks and swallow them like you would a pill.

Your tongue was probably pierced with a straight 14 gauge barbell. We often use 7/8 inch or sometimes 1inch long studs. The jewelry may seem too long at first. Once the tongue swells it should fit just right.
When the swelling goes down again, you may want to change to a shorter barbell. Some people even want to upgrade to a 12 gauge barbell (which is slightly fatter). Everyone’s tongue is different , and you can decide what size you’d like to live with. We recommend that you become familiar with the processes required to change it yourself. We will be glad to change it for you for a small fee.

It can be said that all piercing eventually heal. The object is to get them to heal soon, with minimal amount of problems or scarring. Vitamin C, multivitamins, and Zinc supplements have been used successfully to speed healing during the first couple weeks. For the life of the piercing, the jewelry should be cleaned regularly. After a month or so, the mouthwash sessions may subside to mornings and evenings. When you feel ready, the jewelry may be removed for a moment or two once or twice a week and cleaned thoroughly, with a toothbrush or Q-tip.

For a tongue piercing to be fully healed, to the point where the jewelry can be removed for a few days without it closing up may take a year or two. If you decide that you don’t want to have a tongue piercing anymore, just take it out. Continue to clean the wound for a few days. It will heal to a tiny scar, probably undetectable to the naked eye, if removed during the first few months. After several years, there may be a more noticeable scar….more like a dimple in the skin.

If you think you have a problem that is not normal, please feel free to call us, or stop in. We would encourage you to see a doctor if you think you are getting an infection, or if you are having some kind of problem that is causing a concern. Your family doctor may want to have a look, and may want to prescribe antibiotics for a problem case . Headlight Tattoo Inc. maintains a relationship with a Licensed Physician, as required by State code and the Gloucester County Health Department. If you do not know of a doctor that will see you about a problem with your piercing, please ask, and we will provide the name and location of our Licensed Physician who has agreed to see you ( for a small fee).

Healthy living, a high-quality diet, and good hydration will promote healing. Remember……Don’t drink and drive, and be nice to dogs.

Feel free to email questions, comments, or concerns to: headtattoo@aol.com

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