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                     Tongue   Piercing Aftercare


Piercings are done under aseptic conditions, with sterile instruments and a sterile disposable needle. Your body should immediately start clotting at the site of the wound, and use  other mechanisms to help it heal. A significant amount of swelling of the tongue and a mild, irritating sting, usually on the bottom of the tongue where the needle came through, is normal for the first day or so. Some bleeding is also common.  Swelling of the tongue is normal.  A normal piercing could be tender for a few days,  The discomfort is most often noticed periodically. Ibuprofen ( for those who can take it safely) is the drug of choice. It will relieve the discomfort, decrease swelling, and cool the heat. Aspirin is not recommended, as it can interfere with clotting and may make you bleed more.  ICE WILL HELP A LOT and should be applied to the tongue as soon as possible and as often as practical to keep swelling to a minimum. Sucking on ice cubes can provide much relief to a swollen freshly pierced tongue.

A tongue piercing is done with jewelry that, for your safety,  is large enough to allow for swelling to occur. We use 14 gauge steel externally threaded straight barbells- typically 7/8 inch long, but sometimes 1” long. Once the swelling goes down you will most likely want to change your jewelry to a shorter size. We recommend titanium for a long term piercing. If you need us to help with that, we typically charge $20 plus tax for a jewelry change, plus the price of the jewelry. 


Please avoid “playing”  with your piercing , especially with unwashed fingers.  Keep your tongue and mouth clean by using 50% Antiseptic mouthwash/water when needed. You will need to rinse your mouth out with the mixture after smoking. eating, or drinking ( not after drinking water). After a few days, depending on the color mouthwash you are using, your tongue may appear green or yellow from the mouthwash. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated during the healing process. 


Wash your hands with soap and water before cleaning.  Clean the barbell with hydrogen peroxide and a Q-tip in the morning and at night. Check to see that the balls are “finger tight” on the post ( clock-wise to tighten). After a few days, you may notice a bump or callous on the bottom or top of the piercing. . This is a soft scab that usually takes a week or two to go away. Use a Q-tip soaked with Hydrogen Peroxide to clean the bumps and the piercing twice each day.  Never gargle with Hydrogen Peroxide


Vitamin C, multivitamins, and zinc supplements have been used successfully to aid quick healing. Jewelry should be cleaned regularly for the life of the piercing. After a month or so, you can limit mouthwash to morning and evenings. 


It may take up to a year or two for a tongue piercing to fully heal to the point where you can leave the jewelry out for a few days and it wont close up. If you decide you do no longer want the piercing, you can remove the jewelry. Continue to clean the wound for a few days and will probably leave a tiny, if at all noticeable, scar if removed within the first few months. If left in longer, you may see a slightly more noticeable scar/dimple.


NJ law requires us to describe the signs and symptoms of an infection, therefore: The signs or symptoms of an infection may include excessive soreness, abnormal swelling, redness or heat, accompanied by pus or a foul smelling odor coming from a wound.  If you think that you have an infection or a serious problem you should contact a physician. If you do not know who to call, Headlight Tattoo Inc. will try to locate  a Physician who will agree to see you (at your own expense) .

Healthy living, a high-quality diet, and good hydration will promote healing. Remember……Don’t drink and drive, and be nice to dogs.        Feel free to email questions, comments, or concerns to:

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