Tongue piercing is not something to be taken lightly. The first common question is the question people seem to ask about everything that encompasses body art and that’s the age old “Does it hurt?” Well, it’s kind of like asking the obvious but the answer is always going to be the same, “You’re shoving a large, 14 gauge, needle into your tongue so I’m going to assume you actually know the answer is yes.” But much like childbirth it’s a pain soon forgotten and when it’s for something you truly want, always worth the price of the pain you go through. The more important information you should be concerned with is where to go for your piercing and how to care for your piercing.
Let’s cover where to go for your piercing first. You need to be sure that you get your tongue piercing done by a professional. Call your local Board of Health to see if the place you’re considering is in full compliance with the codes of your town/city. Also, make sure that when the needle is presented to you before piercing with the full autoclave wrap on it; meaning that it has been fully and properly sanitized with an autoclave machine and sealed. Do not accept an unsealed needle ever! Once you’re sure that the place you choose to have the piercing done is on the up and up it’s time to get the job done.
After Care of Your Tongue Ring
You should get an instruction sheet from the piercing shop that will give you complete instructions from the onset to the complete healing of the piercing. Once you have the piercing done there are precautionary steps to take to keep it from getting infected or causing problems. It is a given that there will be swelling of the tongue after the piercing. One way to limit the amount of swelling is to take an ibuprofen dose before the piercing. After the piercing, sucking on ice chips is a good way to help with the swelling also. You want the coldness of the ice but you do not want to turn to ice cream for coldness because the dairy in ice cream can cause bacteria to form. You will want to avoid dairy. You simply want to follow directions given to you by the shop who has done the piercing in order to avoid comlications. The best part is that the human tongue is one of the fastest healing parts of the body and you should be basically healed in anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks, but it can take up to six months for the pierced area to completely heal all the way through.
The History of The Tongue Piercing
Piercing the tongue, while it is a fairly new “trend” in North American society, is something that has quite a history behind it and has been being done since the Maya and Aztec cultures. The idea behind getting a tongue ring was to honor the Gods and by inflicting pain, showing one’s honor.
Tongue piercing began as a religious practice more than an artistic or decorative practice. The average age of most people getting their tongues pierced in North America is between the ages of 17 to 25; although people of any age can and go pierce their tongues just simply because they want to show another decorative and personalized way of expressing themselves. Oddly enough piercing and tongue rings seem to be interchangeable lingo for a lot of people but this is actually slightly ironic because very few people choose to actually wear a ring, but instead they usually go with a barbell type of piercing.
It is highly recommended that when choosing your jewelry you start out with a longer barbell. This makes it easier to turn your piercing regularly to prevent it from growing onto the barbell. It is also sometimes a worry for people that a tongue piercing can cause dental issues and teeth chipping and wear. While this can be a concern the probability is very small, less than 3.5%. As long as you have a professional who is knowledgeable about where to place the barbell and you are carefully when eating, especially when your tongue is swollen, the chances of chipping a tooth are small. It is also recommended that you use an acrylic tipped barbell if this is a concern for you.
Basically, when done properly and cared for accordingly piercing your tongue ring is really something that can give you a wonderful way of expressing yourself. The best part of a tongue piercing is that if you should decide later in life that you don’t want it, you can generally remove your barbell and allow it to heal up on its own. The excellent healing abilities of your tongue can help make it something that is much easier to “grow out of” should you decide you no longer want your tongue pierced, so go for it!