The frenulum is a piece of connective tissue found inside the mouth on the upper and lower lip connecting the lip the gums, and there is also a larger one under the tongue. The tongue web piercing is the piercing in the frenulum under the tongue that connects the tongue to the bottom of your mouth. The smiley piercing is the piercing in the frenulum in the upper lip, because the jewelry shape and flow mimics the smile. The frowny piercing is the inverse of the smiley, which is a piercing in the lower lip frenulum. Or all 3 piercings can also simply be called web piercings.
What to Expect From a Tongue Web Piercing
The membrane itself has very little tissue so it's one of the more painless piercings. Most people think that the clamp used is more painful than the actual needle piercing through. There are some risks with the frenulum piercing as it can irritate your gums over time and cause gum recession. If you notice your gums are changing it's important to remove the piercing and if you feel it rubbing on your teeth too much it can also damage the enamel. Playing with your jewelry a lot can cause the same issues. The same is true if you see the jewelry migrating as it can get accidentally pulled out and tear. It is not a piercing that is usually kept for a long time because of these risks and is especially not advised to be done by anyone other than a professional piercer.
Web Piercing Jewelry
The best jewelry for a web piercing is either a curved barbell or a captive bead ring. The curved barbell is a better option if you are looking for a less visible piercing or to keep it hidden entirely. The captive bead ring will be visible and show above or below your lip, depending on which side is pierced, when you smile and talk. The web piercings for the lip are petite-size piercings and are usually pierced at a 16 gauge. The tongue web piercing can either be pierced at a 16 gauge or a larger 14 gauge, depending on which size you and your piercer agree is best for your specific anatomy.
While curved barbells and captive bead rings will also both work for the tongue web piercing, the curved barbell makes the healing process easier because there is much more swelling with a tongue web piercing than with the smiley or frowny piercings. Usually, your piercer will use a longer piece of jewelry, or one with a wider diameter, to accommodate this swelling in a fresh piercing. This jewelry is only for healing and needs to be downsized once the swelling goes down and the piercing heals a little (about a month). This is done to avoid damaging your gums or teeth, so it’s important to remember.
The best jewelry material for both lip and tongue web piercings is either titanium or surgical stainless steel (316L or 316LVM) because there is a very low chance there will be an allergic reaction to these materials. They are implant-grade metals, so they don’t hold bacteria or other pathogens, which helps reduce the chance of inflammation or infection. Both metals can be sterilized using an autoclave, which is not true for acrylic or plastic jewelry.
How Much Does a Tongue Web Piercing Cost?
The cost of a web piercing can range from $50 to $60 to start and varies depending on the cost of the jewelry chosen for the piercing and the shop you are at. Web piercings are a popular choice because they can be easy to show off or be easy to conceal and keep hidden depending on the jewelry chosen for the piercing.
What is the Healing Time for a Tongue Web Piercing?
Healing takes approximately 1-2 months for these piercings and you can usually change your jewelry after a month for a smaller barbell or a different piece. It's always good to be cautious though and wait to change your jewelry if it doesn't feel healed for at least 2 months. During the healing process you should be rising your mouth with salt water. You don't need to soak the piercing and you can use mouthwash but it's better to use something like Biotene which doesn't contain alcohol (ouch!) but will still remove bacteria and food particles which may have gotten caught. It is important not to overdo mouthwash and if you see a light discoloration around the piercing you should stop or cut back. It's important to use alcohol-free mouthwash because this can irritate your piercing and may disrupt the healing process.
To mix the salt water solution you'll need 1 gallon of distilled water (which you can get from any grocery store) and non-iodized sea salt. Add 4 teaspoons of the salt into the distilled water and shake well. Every time you eat or smoke rinse your mouth out afterward with the saltwater solution for 30 seconds. You should also avoid oral sex and kissing because of the risk of infection during the healing period, and you'll also want to avoid sharing food or drinks with anyone.
If you think your frenulum piercing might be infected it's important not to remove the jewelry and to see a professional piercer asap to avoid complications.