The degree of tongue piercing swelling varies from one person to another, but one thing holds: all pierced tongues get swollen to some extent. Today we will take an in-depth look at this as well as the healing process and time associated pierced tongues.
Tongue Piercing Swelling
Swelling after getting your tongue pierced is a common phenomenon. After all, the process involves sticking a metallic needle or cannula through the subcutaneous tissues of the tongue. It is for this reason that experts recommend having a particularly long barbell after initial piercing to accommodate the increased size of the tongue.
So, how long does tongue piercing swelling last. Well, it typically takes between 10-14 days for the swelling to fully recede, assuming there are no complications involved. Swelling usually starts on day 1 after piercing and peaks on day 2 moving to day.
By the end of day 4, the swelling will most likely have picked on a on a receding path, but there are exceptions whereby the swelling remains at its peak for as long as 5 days.
It will have significantly reduced in 2 weeks’ time or so as to be able to switch the barbell to a shorter one. It is recommended that you change to a shorter-length barbell (jewelry) at that point to minimize chances of teeth damage and associated problems. Your piercer will advise you accordingly.
In addition to swelling of the tongue, you may also experience tender taste buds or even get a tingling feeling (or even burning sensation). This is usually not a cause for concern and clears in just a few days in most cases.
When to Be Concerned:
While post-piercing swelling is normal, you should be concerned about the following:
- The situation persists for longer than a couple weeks
- The swelling seems to be getting worse rather than improving
- You experience difficulty speaking or swallowing.
- A healed tongue suddenly gets swollen. There are case of pierced tongues getting swollen after 4 years or so. Such cases warrant medical attention as they could signal an infection.
To close this introductory part, here are a couple swollen tongue piercing pictures for your visual insights:
This picture shows a piercing that was incorrectly placed using too-short a barbell. Consequently, the swelling transcended the full length of the barbell. Below are even more pictures to give you an idea of what swelling of piercings of the tongue entails.
How to Reduce Tongue Piercing Swelling
In addition to the piercing care instructions provided by your piercer, which must by the way be followed to the letter to avert infections and other complications while ensuring faster healing, you will also want to observe the following tips to help reduce the swelling associated with pierced tongues:
- Take some Non-steroid Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac, Naproxen etc. to help reduce the inflammation as well as pain.
- Place small pieces of ice on the tongue and allow them to melt throughout the day. Ice helps to get down swollen pierced tongue and alleviate pain and is best used early on; most experts recommend using ice for the purpose starting from the next morning after getting the tongue pierced. Just don’t suck or chew the ice.
- Avoid hot, salty, acidic and spicy foods as this does your swollen tongue no favor and instead take cold liquid and semi-solid foods such as broths, ice cream, protein shakes, yoghurt etc.
Tongue Piercing Healing Process or Stages
Do tongue piercings heal? Yes. Piercing your tongue is often associated with symptoms such as bleeding, swelling, redness, and pain, but they relatively quick – compared to other piercings – due to the high supply of blood in the tongue.
Tongue piercings are in in fact one of the fastest healing body piercings. This is especially true if proper care is given. We have already mentioned it but it so critical that we can as well mention it again that the speed of tongue piercing healing and aftercare go hand in hand.
At the onset the tongue will get swollen and you will walk home with some degree of bleeding and pain. These symptoms will subside gradually in the coming 10-14 days.
We have covered various tips on how to enhance the healing process elsewhere in this article and in another article on aftercare. With all said and done, keep in mind that tongue piercing healing process is an individual experience and no two piercings can heal exactly the same.
When to Be Concerned About the Healing Process
Knowing to detect an infection early on is the key to seeking proper medical attention in time and prevent further complications. You should be concerned if you notice any of the following signs and symptoms of infection:
- Tongue piercing swelling takes more than 2 weeks or seems to be worsening
- The red streak that surrounds a new piercing seems to be spreading out to cover larger areas beyond the immediate piercing area. Red streak is a normal part of tongue healing process but an increasing area of coverage is often a no-no sign.
- Bleeding that occurs after the initial healing stages. This may be a sign of infection.
- Extreme yellow or green discoloration: This is one of the most common signs of a problematic piercing process, usually indicating an infection.
Tongue Piercing Healing Time
There are numerous factors with consequences on how much time a pierced tongue takes to heal. This range from the degree of professionalism used during the piercing process (the need to look for professional piercer cannot be overemphasized) to how much tongue piercing aftercare measures have been observed, and genetics (some people naturally swell more than others).
A timeline of 10-14 days is usually involved in the initial healing from the most obvious symptoms associated with this body mod art such as pain, redness, and swelling, but full healing may take as long as 6-8 weeks in some individuals. Be cautious though about the various signs of complications discussed in a previous part of this guide.
If it takes longer than that, it should be a cause of concern; it is advisable to seek medical attention in that case just to rule out the possibility of infection.
Tongue Piercing Healing Pictures
Pictures give far much visual insight than could ever be given without a mountain of words. As part of this research, we took some time to look for several pictures to give you an insight into the typical appearance of the tongue through the entire healing process. We hope these tongue healing images serve you well in their intended purpose:
This particular image shows an image of a pierced tongue that is healing properly. As you can see it is slightly swollen.
Notice the yellow film on the top part of the tongue. This is common with most healing piercings of the tongue and is thought to be due to the use (and sometimes overuse, more than 3 times daily) of mouthwash. The film usually resolves in a 2-3 days or so.
NB: Take care though not to confuse the yellow film for the yellow or green discoloration associated with infection; usually accompanied by other symptoms such as severe swelling, increasing pain, etc. If not sure, check with your piercer.
Healed Tongue Piercing Pictures
As we have already mentioned, tongue piercing is one of the fastest healing body piercings, thanks to the high number of blood vessels in the tongue, but it is also one of the piercings most-prone to infections due to the high number of bacteria typically found in the mouth.
With proper care, mots tongue piercings heal properly and with the pain and swelling gone, and the wound healed, it will be your time to enjoy the aesthetic and bad-ass appeal associated with having a pierced tongue.
To give you an insight, below are several healed tongue piercing pictures (photos):
How to Heal a Tongue Piercing Faster
Now that you have an idea how a pierced tongue heals, what steps can you take to ensure that your pierced tongue recovers faster?
Well, it is most important to follow the aftercare instructions provided by your piercer. You will in particular want to maintain optimum oral hygiene to ensure that the tongue remains clean and free of germs at all times.
It is also important that you avid the use of any substance known to delay wound healing. Mashed potatoes, broths, and ice cream are all good choices of tongue piercing aftercare foods but cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, coffee, and hot or spicy foods are all not recommended.