What is Involved in the Tongue Piercing Healing Process?

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  • Written By: Rhonda Rivera
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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The tongue piercing healing process involves the initial swelling, tongue irritation, and soreness. After the piercing, the tongue begins to swell and commonly reaches double its original size. The swelling should subside within a couple days, but eating, drinking and speaking are generally painful during this time. For several months after receiving the piercing, the person might experience tongue irritation and soreness. One advantage of getting such a piercing is that tongue piercings heal quickly for many people, but this can also be a disadvantage if a person occasionally forgets to wear her piercing.

Major tongue swelling is part of the tongue piercing healing process, but it can be alarming, uncomfortable, and frustrating when trying to do everyday things like talk and eat. Many people experience difficulty talking, with some people choosing to speak very little or not at all during the first couple of days. Taking an anti-inflammatory medication or drinking a cold beverage can sometimes considerably reduce swelling. In rare cases, especially if the tongue piercing was botched in some way, the tongue can swell enough to cause difficulty breathing and the person must get medical help immediately.


Eating and drinking should be done with care to reduce the chances of stretching the hole or getting an infection, both of which can extend the tongue piercing healing process. It is generally recommended that the pierced person wash his or her mouth after every meal and beverage that is not water. For example, if the pierced person drinks a soda beverage, he or she should rinse the mouth with salt water or whatever cleaning solution is recommended by the piercer.

It takes about six months to fully complete the tongue piercing healing process, but most people stop experiencing irritation or pain within half that time. The tongue heals relatively quickly, so leaving tongue jewelry out of the piercing is usually discouraged. For some people, a completely healed tongue piecing can close within a few hours to several days. Other people report being able to leave their tongue jewelry out for years without experiencing even a partial closure.

Besides getting an infected tongue piercing or having difficulty breathing, there are rare, but significant, risks when getting a tongue piercing. The pierced person can experience dental problems if the piercing is placed too near the edge of the tongue. Nerve damage is also a possibility if the piercing is performed by an inexperienced or careless piercer. Tongue jewelry can also come loose in the mouth and pose a choking hazard.


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Post 3

@turkay1-- It might be the angle of the piercing. A piercing done on a wrong angle never completely heals and causes all sorts of problems. I suggest having an experienced piercer look at the angle.

Post 2

@turkay1-- I didn't experience anything like that. Do you have any swelling?

You should see your piercer to get an opinion, or you could see a doctor. If you have a tongue piercing infection, you definitely don't want it to go unnoticed.

It took about two months for my tongue to start feeling better after my piercing. I had a lot of swelling and pain in the beginning. Anti-inflammatory medications and ice were my best friends during the first two weeks.

I also avoided solid foods as much as possible until the swelling went down. I was afraid that a piece of food would get stuck inside the piercing and cause an infection. I heard that happens all the time.

You're doing the right thing by cleaning your mouth often. I suggest using warm salt water for this. Don't use mouthwash, especially ones with alcohol because alcohol is very irritating for a healing tongue.

Post 1

I had my tongue pierced a little over a month ago. I've been doing everything I'm supposed to. I clean my mouth throughout the day and I've avoided everything that can cause irritation to my tongue and make the healing process longer.

I think my tongue is doing well, except for what looks like scar tissue underneath the tongue ring. It's a white, round mass. I'm not entirely sure that it is scar tissue but it doesn't have fluid and it doesn't hurt so I'm guessing that's what it is.

Just curious, has anyone experienced something like this during the healing process? Will it go away?

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