Everything You Need to Know About Getting a Tongue Piercing, According to a Pro

There's always a level of risk that comes with getting a new piercing, no matter where you get it, which is why you should always do a bit of research on the specific type you want before making an appointment. This especially goes for tongue piercings, which are already stigmatized for a few reasons — one of them being that because it's located in the mouth, there's a greater risk for it to become infected after the fact.

With tongue piercings, there's a lot of information and precautions to consider, so to aid you in your research, we chatted with Anna Beall, a professional body piercer at CowPök Tattoo and Piercing Gallery in Buffalo, NY. Ahead, she's sharing a few important things you should know about getting a tongue piercing.

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What Are the Different Types of Tongue Piercings?

There are a handful of tongue piercing options out there: traditional, web, snake eyes, venom, and double tongue to name a few. All of these are located in different parts of the tongue or mouth. The web, for instance, is a piercing of the thin piece of tissue that connects the tongue to the roof of the mouth while a snake eyes piercing is a horizontal piercing at the tip that usually makes the tongue look like a snake.

Venom piercings feature two piercings opposite each other near the tip while double tongue piercings can just be a set of piercings on any part of the tongue.

How Much Do Tongue Piercings Hurt?

Like any other piercing, that depends on your individual pain tolerance. "Pain is relative, but typically the piercing isn't that bad," Beall said, adding: "The swelling that follows can be fairly uncomfortable, though."

Any time you're planning on letting someone stick a needle through an organ, you should go into the experience expecting to feel some level of pain, but it's worth remembering that what's painful for you might not be as painful to someone else (and vice versa). To help minimize the pain, experts say you can take a Tylenol or acetaminophen before your appointment, but you should avoid medications like Advil or Aspirin, as it can potentially make you bleed more during the piercing.

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How Long Does It Take For Tongue Piercings to Heal?

This goes for all piercings, but the healing process is dependent on a couple of different things: where the piercing is located and how you care for it in the weeks and/or months after getting it. According to Beall, tongue piercings generally take four to six weeks to heal, and as mentioned before, you'll likely experience a little discomfort from swelling in the days and weeks that follow.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Tongue Piercings?

In general, there isn't much to fear about getting a tongue piercing in comparison to any other place on your body. The key is to do your research to ensure you're visiting a licensed piercer at a reputable parlor — in addition to a "well-placed piercing, the appropriate anatomy, and appropriate jewelry," said Beall — to minimize risks. And of course, make sure you're properly cleaning the area during the healing process to avoid infection.