If you are considering getting a tongue piercing, you may be worried about the pain and the healing time. A tongue piercing is usually performed with a 12- or 14-gauge barbell, which goes through the center of the tongue vertically. With proper aftercare, your tongue will take three to four months to heal completely. The procedure itself, while not painless, is very quick. You can prepare for your tongue piercing by making sure your body is healthy and your mind is calm.
Locate a member of the Association of Professional Piercers (APP) in your area to make sure your piercing is performed properly. Visit the shop and ask to see the piercer's portfolio. Look at pictures of the tongue piercings he has performed previously to make sure you will be satisfied with his work.
Schedule your piercing appointment for a day when you will have plenty of time to rest and relax. Go to your appointment sober and healthy and having eaten a meal within the last two hours.
Look at your piercer's piercing tray to make sure all her equipment is in sterile autoclave bags. You should see each tool, including the needle, in individual envelopes with clear plastic fronts. The equipment should be laid out on a sterile dental bib, and your piercer should be wearing sterile gloves.
Rinse your mouth with antiseptic mouthwash for 30 seconds. Your piercer will give you a cup of mouthwash before he marks your tongue.
Inspect the marking your piercer places on your tongue. It should sit slightly to the side of your frenulum, or the webbing underneath your tongue. A properly trained piercer can keep the jewelry to the side of the frenulum while still making it appear centered.
Breathe slowly and deeply as your piercer performs the piercing and inserts the jewelry. Some piercers clamp the tongue with forceps before performing the piercing, while others hold the tongue with gauze. When you feel your piercer grip your tongue, begin your deep breathing. The piercing will be over quickly thereafter.
If you want to make sure the bags containing your piercer's tools have been sterilized in an autoclave, ask to see the paper on the back. The indicator dots on the back of the package will be brown.
Do not drink alcohol within 24 hours of your piercing, as it can cause excessive bleeding. Your piercer will not pierce you if you show up for your appointment intoxicated.
Ann Jones has been writing since 1998. Her short stories have been published in several anthologies. Her journalistic work can be found in major magazines and newspapers. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing.