Do Tongue Piercings Hurt?

Updated on April 4, 2017

The questions on most people’s mind before having a tongue piercing are “Will it hurt to have my tongue pierced? “ and “Will it hurt after I have had my tongue pierced?” The short answer is “Yes” to both, but that doesn’t give you what you really need to know which is ‘How much will it hurt? So here I’ll try to answer that.

Tongue Piercing Pain

How Painful During?
How painful after?
Flu Vaccination
5 for 4 seconds
3 for one day
Tongue piercing
5 for 2 seconds
3 for two days
Wisdom Teeth extraction
8 for 30 seconds whilst the injections went in
6 for 1 day reducing daily for a week
Biting my tongue by mistake
6 for 2 seconds
2 for an hour
Stung on the eyebrow by a bumblebee
5 for 10 seconds
3 for one day
0 is least painful 10 is most painful
Tongue piercing
Tongue piercing | Source

Getting a Tongue Piercing

I had my tongue pierced fifteen years ago. This may lead you to think surely I can’t remember what it felt like, but it is my only piercing ever – yes seriously I never had my ears pierced. So it has stuck in my memory. I really wanted a tongue piercing having seen them on several other people.

For the procedure itself I went to a well recommended establishment who had done many other tongue piercings. I opted to have a bit of anaesthetic to numb my tongue which took the form of a small square of banana scented stuff pressed on the site for a couple of minutes. The needle through the tongue took a maximum of 2 seconds and I found that this hurt about the same as having a flu vaccination into my arm, but for a shorter time. It hurt a lot less than having anaesthetic injections into my mouth before I had my wisdom teeth taken out. The the pliable plastic tongue bar with steel balls at each end was slotted in painlessly straight away.

My recommendation whilst you have your tongue piercing done is to practise controlled breathing – Breath in counting to five, breath out counting to five, breath in counting to four, breath out counting to four and so on. This should help you relax a little so that it hurts less.

Top Tongue Piercing Tip

Give up smoking at least two weeks before you have your tongue pierced. This is strongly recommended by the NHS prior to anyone having teeth out and is just as valid if you are having your tongue pierced, because smoking is particularly detrimental to oral health, circulation and the immune system.

Tongue Piercing Aftercare

Here are my top tips for fast healing after a tongue piercing

  1. Use painkillers, alternating between ibuprophen and paracetamol. After the first 24 hours gradually reduce the number of doses you use.
  2. Eat non spicy liquid food at room temperature for a day or two. Hot and cold foods will make your mouth hurt more.
  3. Use a salt water or antiseptic mouthwash morning and evening for at least five days. Allow the mouthwash to surround your tongue for at least 30 seconds.
  4. If you have any sign of an infection such as pus coming from the hole or a raised temperature you should go to your doctor. They might not be delighted about the piercing, but they will prescribe you antibiotics if you need them.

Tongue Piercing and Teeth

In the long term the worst trouble I’ve had with my tongue piercing is chipping teeth whilst eating and inadvertently crunching on the steel end balls. I’ve lost 25% of one molar that way and a couple of chips off my other teeth. That finally lead to me taking out my tongue piercing after 9 years, but having noticed new tongue bars which have plastic balls and discovering my tongue hole is still in place – I’m back in business!

Does tongue piercing hurt?

See results

Should I get my Tongue Pierced?

There is no right or wrong answer to this. From a pain point of view everyone’s pain threshold differs as does their response to different kinds of pain, so you can only use how I felt and what I’ve observed from others as a general guideline.

If you don’t like the idea of possibly not being able to eat properly for a week don’t do it. If you have a short tongue, think very carefully about doing it because it will mean the piercing is towards the front of your mouth and is very likely to affect your speech. The only person I know with a short tongue who had it pierced ended up removing it because she couldn't speak clearly with it in. If you are worried about chipping your teeth and the potential cost of fillings and crowns – don’t do it. The good thing is that more modern tongue bars are available in acrylic, as well as the traditional steel. Acrylic should be less damaging to teeth. I’m trying them out and will report back!


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    • profile image

      Blue 2 weeks ago

      Update on my 2 x 10g tongue piercings.

      I no longer have 10g piercings. They have been stretched to 8g at the back and 8 then 6 and now 4g for the front one. When I take them out to clean them, or change the Jewelry my tongue really feels uncomfortable and I can't wait to get them back in, of course with tongue piercings even when healed the jewelry should only be out for a minute or 2. I waited 11 months before the first stretch, then 2 months and then 3 months for the last stretch. No pain for any stretch, however the 6g - 4g stretch felt very tight and it took a few days to get used to it.

      The only side effect I have is that carbonated drinks feels more bubbly than before in a good way.

      The only downside of a tongue piercing is putting up with the first 5 -10 days after the piercing, after you get the bar downsized it's great.

      I don't know I have them for 90% of the time. If I play with them they feel really great.

      Please do yourself a favour and get one or 2, your only regret after the healing is you didn't get it sooner.

    • profile image

      Erin 6 weeks ago

      got my tounge and septum done the same day. the tounge was nothing compared to the septum. and even with the pain both are beautiful. i highly recomend if you want it done do it. no pain no gain

    • profile image

      Sarah 6 weeks ago

      It didn’t hurt getting it done but the next day is a bitch! lol can’t eat nothing suck on ice cubes.

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      Alysa 3 months ago

      I just had mine done yesterday and if you're thinking about it I would do it lol I was nervous bc of the pain but I love it lol

    • profile image

      Molly 5 months ago

      I've booked an appointment to get my tongue pierced tomorrow but I'm really worried about the pain, I've had my nose pierced twice and I'm just concerned about how much my tongue will hurt ?

    • profile image

      melany 7 months ago

      mine didnt hurt at all when i got it pierced! i could feel the needle but it was nothing :) it hurt to talk and eat for a day and for the next two it was just uncomfortable as heck.

    • profile image

      Dawn 8 months ago

      I got my tounge periced and I have a sore stomach as I can't eat much is this normal

    • profile image

      John Gutshall 13 months ago

      Hi there, my friend had also done tongue piercing last year, which was very painful. It was looking cool, but after some month he started pain in his teeth and that was unstoppable, someone suggested he who provide him good service and good care and dentist told that it was happening due to tongue piercing and because of tongue piercing he had an infection in the mouth.

    • profile image

      Blue 15 months ago

      Providing this is done by competent professional, there is nothing to worry about. Everyone feels pain differently, however the majority feel little to no pain. I had one and lost it due to an operation. It felt uncomfortable without it, so I got I have just recently got it repierced and got a double center piercing with 10g. No pain during the piercing. Due to it being a double there was a fair bit of swelling and discomfort eating anything except liquid for about 8 days. Now the post have been replaced with shorter posts, they are very comfortable. Once you get the correct sized posts in, if you play with them or move your tongue a lot you know they are there in a pleasurable way otherwise you will forget about it. Get passed the initial healing and you won't be sorry.

    • profile image

      Amanda 18 months ago

      I wanna get my toungue pierced really bad but I'm so scared & nervous!! I have my nose & lip pierced & gauges but I'm just so nervous!

    • profile image

      ally 19 months ago

      no pain when piercing but after one hour getting more pain till one week

    • profile image

      nikita leach 20 months ago

      I want to get my tongue pierced so bad but I don't know bad it hurts

    • profile image

      Sobsob 20 months ago

      Mine was painful . I live in singapore and did it at a tattoo parlor

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      lyssssy 3 years ago

      the actual ppiercing did not hurt as much as I thought it would it is very tolerable (I'm a huge baby when it comes to needles) the healing is what really hurts. I'd take the pain of getting it pierced 3 times then I would to have to deal with the healing process!!!#

    • profile image

      jessicalk 3 years ago

      I've had my tongue done for few years now also my nose 3 times my belly button and ears and my tongue was the most painful I've never broke or chipped a tooth never had a problem with it but the pain when getting it done is terrible and after it done with it swollen for a week I did have a lisp when it was swollen but talk normal again but the pain was the worst don't let people lie to you and say it only hurts a little or even for a little while!!!

    • profile image

      lindsey 4 years ago

      i found this fab! im wanting my tongue done so badly yet am just a total chicken to do it haha!! but youv helped a lot a think ive scared myself by watching youtube videos etc and in sure if i look after it itl be fine so posting this to let u know if have decided to go for the tongue piercing tomorro! i shall let u know how i get on! (still craping it tho) xx

    • profile image

      xxarctic 4 years ago

      A tongue piercing isn't persay painful. im not going to say its fun, but its not painful. just the quickest pinch ever, the worst thing in the world is the healing... that sucked.

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Definitely not one to pursue if it evaporates. I've been the same with tatoos - intermittently thought about one but not strong enough thoughts to be bothered to go ahead with it.

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      themadimadimadi - sounds like you had a tough recovery with your piercing - sorry it didn't work out for you - you ere brave to try it though.

      Life iz Beautiful - I'l=m glad this has helped whichever way your decision has gone.

      Marcy - it must have been horrible to be stung on your tongue. What an indignity as well!

      Sharkye11 - so far so good with the acryllic - even though it feels hard it doesn't seem to be having the same chipping effect as the metal end balls used to.

    • Life Iz Beautiful profile image

      Salini 5 years ago from India

      Oh k... this one hub which was really helpful for me. I was contemplating on this tongue piercing stuff for quite some days, and this hub has helped me on making my decision. Thanks a lot for sharing your experience, supported with suggestions to be followed after the piercing. voted useful.

    • themadimadimadi profile image

      Madison Gardiner. 5 years ago from Denver, Colorado

      I had my tongue pierced for about two months until I got fed up with it and took it out.

      Getting the piercing itself was nothing for me, I'm pretty good with poking holes in my body. The aftermath though...

      I felt like I couldn't really eat for at least a month. My tongue was FAT and white all the time. After it got back to normal it seemed fun to play with and find other cool rings. But soon enough I was done with the piercing. Occasionally I would accidentally bite the ball while eating and it would pop off. Not a good feeling. Sometimes the ball would come unscrewed in my sleep.

      Oh but back to the point. So painful!!

      Popsicles, ice cream, ibuprofen, warm salt water, soup (broth), I would recommend a liquid diet for a bit.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 5 years ago from Planet Earth

      Well, I've been stung by a bee on my tongue (accidentally 'swallowed' one while sipping on a canned cola at a beach), and it hurt! I probably won't go for the tongue piercing, but I think your hub has shed some light on what it would feel like, and the safety or health issues to consider!

      Voted up!

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      I'm interested in the acrylic. It might make a world of difference. The sound of metal scraping against teeth is kinda creepy...which is why my dentist could never talk me into braces!

    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      Thanks for reading and commenting Amy, it's reassuring to know that it all made sense.

      Sharkye, thank you for your votes and visit. I'm sure your dentist strongly approves that you never had your tongue pierced! My dentist has always grimaced when he saw mine.

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 5 years ago from Oklahoma

      Very nice hub! Its nice to see an honest description. I'm one of those people that likes seeing tongue piercings on others, but never got one because of the teeth issue. Voting this up for being objective and helpful!

    • Amy Gillie profile image

      Amy Gillie 5 years ago from Indiana

      This is a good description of the process, and I like that you explain it well and give the reader things to consider in making their decision. Voted up!