Tongue or Lip Piercing

A photo of a pieced tongue.

Never pierce your own body. Don’t let a friend do it. It’s not worth the risk.

How is tongue and lip piercing done?

  • Tongue and lip piercing should only be done by a professional body artist using sterile equipment.
  • The area to be pierced must be thoroughly cleaned before piecing with an antibacterial mouthwash.
  • The body artist creates a hole with a disposable needle through the tongue or lip. Piercing guns should not be used.
  • Then new sterile jewellery is inserted through the hole.
  • There may be a small amount of bleeding

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What should I know about tongue piercing?

  • Once pierced, the tongue swells quite a lot at first, so an extra long barbell is inserted into the hole.
  • After the swelling goes down, a shorter barbell should replace the longer one to avoid tooth fracture and irritation of piercing.
  • The tongue takes about 4 weeks to heal.

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What should I know about lip piercing?

  • A small hoop or stud is placed through the bottom part of the lip. The lip piercing can take up to 3 months to heal.

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What should I do after the piercing?

  • Hands should always be washed before touching the piercing. Anything that is in contact with the piercing should be as clean as possible.
  • For 3 months following the piercing, rinse the mouth with antibacterial mouthwash after eating or drinking.
  • The piercing as well as the teeth, gums and tongue should be kept clean.
  • When taking care of the jewellery, follow the proper steps as given by the piercer.

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What are the risks with tongue and lip piercing?

  • Infections, such as Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS and Strep (Streptococcus).
  • Chipped teeth.
  • Damage to the nerves.
  • Allergic reaction to the metal jewellery.
  • Increased saliva flow.
  • Difficulty eating or speaking.
  • Possible change I taste of food.
  • Trauma and infection to the gum tissue.
  • Scar tissue can change speech.
  • Jewellery can block airway if swallowed or inhaled.

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