Do Tongue Piercings Hurt?
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?
5 for 4 seconds
3 for one day
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 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
- Use painkillers, alternating between ibuprophen 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 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.
- 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!
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. Do read other people's accounts of their experience of having their tongue pierced.
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!