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Do Tongue Piercings Hurt?

I had my tongue pierced 15 years ago. This may lead you to think surely I can’t remember what it felt like, but it is my only piercing ever.

Tongue piercing

Tongue piercing

How Much Do Tongue Piercings Hurt?

The questions on most people’s minds 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 it will hurt. So, here I’ll try to answer that.

Tongue Piercing Pain

0 is least painful 10 is most painful

EventHow 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

Getting a Tongue Piercing

I had my tongue pierced 15 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 two 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 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—breathe in counting to five, breathe out counting to five, breathe in counting to four, breathe out counting to four and so on. This should help you relax a little so that it hurts less.

Tongue Piercing Aftercare

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

  • Use painkillers, alternating between ibuprofen and paracetamol. After the first 24 hours gradually reduce the number of doses you use.
  • Eat non-spicy liquid food at room temperature for a day or two. Hot and cold foods will make your mouth hurt more.
  • Use saltwater or antiseptic mouthwash morning and evening for at least five days. Allow the mouthwash to surround your tongue for at least 30 seconds.
  • 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 nine years, but having noticed new tongue bars that have plastic balls and discovering my tongue hole is still in place, I’m back in business!

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.

Who Shouldn't Get One?

  • 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.
  • 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!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Aliya on September 25, 2019:

What place should I go to

Lilly Mae on June 24, 2019:

Ok I just wanna ask guys can you have your tongue pierced even if you have heart problems x

Krista on June 15, 2019:

Is it normal to still not be able to stick out your tongue fully even though my tongue piercing is healed and I already put in another tongue ring?

Neisha on June 03, 2019:

So i did my tongue 6 days ago and i eat everything except for spicy food it hurts a little when i was eating but soft food can not full my tummy and i had to eat, that said to say should get yours done if you are thinking about it.

Jennifer Nall on February 07, 2019:

Mine hurt quite a bit an swelled to the 1st day

Kelsey on April 14, 2018:

When I got it done at 11:15 last night it didn't hurt at first only a big ass pinch lol today it's soo sore but the pain is 5 to me which isn't bad for my first time getting my tongue piercing I think ima like the piercing my sis in law and brother took me n paid for it but anyway it doesn't hurt the first few hours n the same day it's done but the 2nd day it is sore but tbh let me tell u it wil go away in few days n the swelling will go down in week but yeah it's not that bad so people who want it done go for it

red on March 15, 2018:

i got my tongue pierced and it was a breeze, i left the building and went right next door to a pizza parlor and had 3 slices of pizza. the next day it was a little hard to talk because it did swell but not really much pain.

my best friend of 7 years had her tongue pierced and cried, the next day she took it out because she couldn't deal with the pain.

my cousin pierced her own tongue (she was licensed to perform different piercings) and she didn't even flinch.

It honestly all depends on the person. i hate getting shots, i'm a big baby when it comes to them but it felt just like i bit my tongue (which i do often).

it also depends on who does it. the guy that did mine had done this type of stuff for years and was really great with all kinds of piercings.

i recommend researching who you decide to go to and DON'T watch videos on youtube because you will only back yourself out of doing it.

Blue on December 31, 2017:

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.

Erin on December 03, 2017:

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

Sarah on December 03, 2017:

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

Alysa on September 30, 2017:

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

Molly on August 02, 2017:

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 ?

melany on May 31, 2017:

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.

Dawn on May 06, 2017:

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

John Gutshall on December 09, 2016:

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.

Blue on October 17, 2016:

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.

Amanda on July 25, 2016:

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!

ally on June 06, 2016:

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

nikita leach on May 21, 2016:

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

Sobsob on May 12, 2016:

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

lyssssy on April 05, 2014:

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!!!#

jessicalk on February 27, 2014:

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!!!

lindsey on January 10, 2014:

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

xxarctic on February 23, 2013:

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 (author) from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on November 20, 2012:

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 (author) from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on November 11, 2012:

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.

Salini from India on November 08, 2012:

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.

Madison Gardiner. from Denver, Colorado on October 24, 2012:

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 from Planet Earth on September 26, 2012:

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!

Jayme Kinsey from Oklahoma on September 05, 2012:

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 (author) from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on September 05, 2012:

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.

Jayme Kinsey from Oklahoma on September 05, 2012:

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 from Indiana on September 04, 2012:

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!