When Can I Change My Tongue Ring?

Your tongue is one of the most sensitive organs you can pierce since many colonies of various bacteria live in the human mouth. A tongue piercing has a higher chance of infections than a piercing on the outside, like those at eyebrows.

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Have you ever asked yourself – When can I change my tongue ring? The answer is that you need to wait several weeks till the piercing heals. Regular jewelry cleaning and good oral hygiene are necessary to avoid any complications during that period.

Types of Tongue Piercing

Types of Tongue Piercing
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A timeframe for oral piercing healing depends on the piercing spot since you can pierce different tongue areas. Unfortunately, some of them are highly sensitive and heal slower than others.

Horizontal and vertical piercings

These types heal faster. It only takes 10 to 14 days before you can change your tongue ring. The piercer uses a curved barbell that pierces the tongue partway with the effect of two piercings with one piece of jewelry.

Snake eyes

It is a popular type of tongue piercing. You get the curved piercing on your tongue top, which mimics the snake eyes. However, this area has a lot of nerves and heals slow, after 6 to 9 weeks.

Sometimes, as the tongue heals, the snake eyes may move during that period and lose the symmetry. Thus, this unique piercing aesthetic effect will be ruined, plus the jewelry can widen the hole and tear the tissue.

Midline and side piercings

They include an ordinary barbell, which goes all through the tongue. Both piercings heal in 4 to 8 weeks, depending on how well you take care of them. The only difference is that midline piercing goes to the tongue center while the side is closer to the edge.

Frenulum linguae piercing

It goes through the frenulum underneath the tongue. It is one of the most painful piercings, and it typically heals around eight weeks. Still, this type comes with the highest risk of rejection and infection.

Frenulum piercing is one of the most popular choices because it is hidden. However, you need to have a thicker frenulum to get it. If this part is too thin, your piercer won’t be able to perforate it.

Healing Period

Healing Period
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Once you pierce your tongue, the success of its healing will depend solely on you. It will help if you get used to the feeling of metal in your mouth, the swollen and bloated tongue in the first days, and potential problems with speech and food consumption.

  • Bleeding and pain – They are a normal part of the healing process. You will relieve these symptoms if you eat soups, noodles, and easily chewable food in the first few weeks. Plus, try to avoid cigarettes, alcohol, and coffee.
  • Kissing and oral sex – You need to avoid kissing, oral sex, and any other activity that can introduce other people’s bacteria into your body.
  • Rinsing – Daily brushing and rinsing your mouth with saline solution or mouthwash is absolutely necessary. Many brochures of well-known tattoo and piercing studios recommend rinsing the tongue piercing with a mixture of non-alcoholic mouthwash and distilled water in a ratio of 50:50 a few times a day.

You should not rush and try to replace the tongue ring during this period. The tongue is a muscle that regenerates very quickly. So, it is enough to take off the jewelry for a few minutes in the first weeks to close the hole.

Jewelry Replacement

When you go to the studio to pierce your tongue, your piercer will set up jewelry with a slightly larger barbell than you need. The reason is the tongue swelling in the first weeks. If you got a regular-sized piercing, the ring could pinch your tongue or remain trapped in the tissue, which would increase the risk of infection.

After a healing period, you will need a smaller ring. That way, the piercing won’t interfere with the meal, damage your gums, or fracture your teeth. Once the piercing is entirely healed, changing jewelry will be painless and straightforward so that you can do it yourself at home.

  • Disinfection – Start with soaking the new ring in rubbing alcohol and washing your hands thoroughly. You can also use hydrogen peroxide because its foam kills the bacteria. Don’t skip this part even though you have the ring with a pre-sterilized label.
  • Remove the ring – Stand in front of the mirror, stick out your tongue as much as you can, and slowly remove the jewelry you wear. Some models of tongue rings have balls that you need to unscrew while others will slide effortlessly.
  • Old jewelry – Be careful and don’t drop the ball or other piercing parts while removing the ring. Take care not to swallow any of them accidentally. Still, you need to save the old ring because it can be useful later when you need to clean the one you wear.
  • Pain – Feeling pain during the ring’s removal is a sure sign that the wound has not yet healed. Therefore, wait for at least another week before changing the ring. Rough piercing removal can cause micro-abrasions on the tongue and lead to infection.
  • New jewelry – Remove the ring only if you can do it without a problem. Rinse off the new jewelry with alcohol, pat it dry with a paper towel, and put it through your tongue. Avoid using a towel or cloth to prevent transferring bacteria to the hole.
  • Check the ring – Make sure the new ring is not loose. Otherwise, you can lose it or hurt your tongue while chewing food. If you set it correctly, you will feel no pain or soreness.

Choose the Right Tongue Ring

Nowadays, there are plenty of choices when it comes to piercing jewelry. They differ in material, quality, style, and cost. It is crucial to pick out a ring that won’t cause allergies, damage your gums, and lead to infection.

That is why you should avoid cheap jewelry, particularly if you prefer ordering online.  The quality oral piercing needs to be made of medical-grade materials like surgical steel, titanium, gold, or silicone. Don’t forget to choose nickel-free jewelry because this metal can trigger allergies.

Some people choose to have a ring from natural materials like wood, stone, horn, or bone since there are fewer chances the body rejects the piercing. Although the choice is a matter of personal preference, keep in mind that it is not wise to clean these materials with alcohol.

In the last few years, the bioplastic piercing becomes a new trend among the younger population. Besides the bright colors and thorny surfaces with a different sensation, you can also find the vibrating rings.

The size of your jewelry matters, too. You will probably get a 12-gauge ring when piercing your tongue. That means the first ring you wear will be 0,78 inches (2mm) thick.

Once you are ready to change the ring, pick out a 14-gauge, 0,62 inches (1,6 mm) thick one. The length of the piercing will depend on your tongue thickness.

Aftercare and Prevention

Aftercare and Prevention
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It is essential to continue with regular care even after the healing is over, but you can change your jewelry as soon as it happens.

Toothbrush

Daily care routine should include brushing your teeth and tongue every time you eat something. Use your brush to clean the food deposits and plaque around the piercing to prevent infection.

Change your toothbrush every two or three weeks. Pick out a soft model that won’t scratch the sensitive tissue around the piercing and use a box for keeping the brush in to ensure it stays perfectly clean.

Alternative oral hygiene products

Use saline solution and non-alcoholic mouthwash to rinse your mouth alternately. If you stick with mouthwash only, rinsing the tongue 5 or 6 times a day can be harmful and cause the reaction.

Be careful

Playing with the tongue ring, holding it with your teeth, and twisting it can harm your tongue. The same goes for food that is too spicy, hot, and seasoned. Keep these ingredients to a minimum for the first few days after changing the ring.

Check for possible signs of infection

If the first symptoms after getting your tongue pierced become worsen, look for the first signs of an infection. Any swelling, increased pain, recurrence of secretions, or high fever can mean that you need antibiotic therapy.

Therapy

Taking antibiotics on your own is not a good idea. Those you have in your home pharmacy from when you were sick can harm you rather than help. It will be best to go to your piercer or schedule a dentist to get the right medication.

Summary

The perfect timing is crucial for changing your tongue ring. Have some patience and wait for several weeks until the wound heals before removing the jewelry. Otherwise, you will be at risk of closing the hole because the tongue regenerates fast. Chose the right ring from medical-grade materials to lower the risk of infections and allergies.

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