Tongue Web Piercing

Tongue Frenulum

photo credit: jpmatth cc

The tongue frenulum (frenulum linguae) is the webbing underneath the tongue that connects the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth.The purpose of this webbing is to insure the growth of the tongue progresses forward in the mouth. After birth the tongue continues to grow and extend past this point. The webbing by itself is thin and carries very little blood vessels, so bleeding after a piercing will be little to none.

Can I pierce myself?

I never recommended you do any body piercing yourself, even though some may seem ‘simple’ you should always visit a professional. When it comes to a tongue web piercing, caution needs to be taken as there are two important glands that you do not want to damage. These glands serve the purpose of delivering saliva to the mouth. Saliva is used to help keep the mouth moist, serve as a lubricant and is pre-digestive fluid for food. If you puncture your glands there will not only be increased pain but you may cause permanent damage. In some cases the glands will shut down or become blocked, causing further complications and a heavy doctors bill to boot. Please use an experienced piercer for this procedure, the risk is not worth saving a few dollars!

Will There Be Pain?

Though every person reacts differently, the majority of people find that the pain to be minimal. You will feel some pressure from the clamp, which may cause you to feel a little discomfort, but overall you will more than likely have an easy time. Keep in mind your initial jewelry needs to be sized correctly. The correct size jewelry is very important to lower the risk of rejection and to heal properly. Most start out with a curved barbell. Once you’re healed some studios may let you exchange for another piece of jewelry.

What to expect:

  • For the first few days you can expect some light bleeding, swelling, and some tenderness. You can reduce this by allowing some ice to melt in your mouth, chipped or crushed ice is the best. Don’t over do it though. You can also use over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
  • Once the swelling lessens you may experience some some light secretions of a whitish yellow fluid. This is not pus and is normal. You may also experience some tenderness or discomfort. If you see liquid that is red or green you may have an infection. Do not remove your jewelry as this may actually worsen your condition. Visit the studio you choose to see what your professional thinks, if he/she says it’s infected visit your family doctor.
  • Over time you will see some plaque form on the ball or post of your jewelry. Pick up a new soft soft bristle toothbrush (which you should do for proper hygiene after any oral piercing) and lightly brush it. Do NOT remove the jewelry until you have fully healed. Interdental brushes are another alternative for more stubborn plaque.

Aftercare:

The Do’s

  • Purchase a new soft bristle toothbrush and store it in a clean dry area by itself.
  • Purchase an alcohol free mouthwash such as alcohol free listerine or biotene. You may also rinse with a salt water solution you can make yourself. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized (iodine-free) sea salt to one cup (8 ounces) warm distilled or bottled water. *Please note if you have a heart condition using salt is not recommended.
  • Rinse your mouth out after every meal and before you go to bed for at least thirty seconds. This should be around four to five times a day. Do not overdo it, if you do you may notice some discoloration and experience some irritation.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before you touch your jewelery for any reason.
  • Take care of yourself, try to avoid stress and try and get good restful sleep.

The Dont’s

  • Play with your jewelry!
  • Be a ‘chatty Kathy’ this puts undue stress on the healing process and can lead to scar tissue, mitigation and other complications.
  • Go on a kissing marathon. French kissing during the healing process can lead to infection.
  • Engage in oral sex. Yep, it sucks. However, no one said you can’t receive oral sex.
  • Go on a drinking binge! Alcohol can not only cause irritation but can lead to other complications, so lay off the beer and hard alcohol for a couple months.
  • Bite your nails, pencil, pens, ipad, chew gum, or stick any other foreign object in your mouth.
  • Smoke cigarettes, marijuana or anything else for that matter. It increases your risk of infection and will lengthen the time it takes to heal.
  • Share any type of drink, plate, food, silverware, straw, or anything else with anyone.

Rejection & Mitigation:

Mitigation is the process that occurs when your jewelry moves from its initial location closer to the surface or the tissue becomes narrower between the opening of your body piercing. This normally is not painful and can go unnoticed. The migration process can continue until your jewelry goes past the point of remaining in your skin which is called rejection. It is possible that the studio you visit may tell you that your frenulum is not large enough, especially if you are under 18. If this is the case your best bet is to wait a year or two. I see quite a few of our younger viewers scoff at this and decide to do it themselves, though I can understand the desire you should wait. The reason is the position of your jewelry plays a large roll on how soon you will run into rejection issues. You also increase the risk of puncturing or damaging your saliva glands. This is NOT pleasant and will cost you a considerable doctors bill.

Risks:

Though this type of web piercing is relatively low risk there are still some steps you can take to lower your risk factors.

    Only use a professional.

  • Body Piercing can potentially result in a serious infection so you want to be sure you visit a reputable studio. Be sure to shop around and look to see how clean the studio is kept. If it looks shady and dirty walk out the door!!

  • Ask questions.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Ask about their cleanliness and disease prevention policies. A great many diseases, including AIDS and Hepatitis can be spread through using dirty needles, so you should ensure your quality of health is not compromised. Do not feel ashamed or embarrassed to ask the necessary questions, and beware of any so-called professional who seems unwilling or unable to provide answers.

  • Choose quality body jewelry.

  • When it comes to choosing body jewelry, ensure you choose quality metals or high carbonate plastics that will work well in your body and not have any complications. Most body piercing jewelry is either gold with a high karat count or surgical quality stainless steel and even titanium. Avoid cheap or flimsy body jewelry and focus on the quality instead of the design.

  • Keep it clean.

  • Your piercing professional should give you a print out and go over with you proper hygiene and cleaning methods. Your body sees a piercing as a wound, so cleanliness is the key. Remember, infections also do not discriminate between piercing holes and puncture wounds.

Healing time:

Healing times can vary from person to person, on average you can expect to heal in around eight to ten weeks. During the healing phase it’s very important to keep to proper hygiene and low risk behavior. Keep your mouth clean, avoid oral sex & no more cigarettes. Again your piercing professional should go over the basics with you and if you begin to show any problems let them know right away. If they tell you that you’re developing an infection see you doctor, infections are not something you should put off as they can become very serious.

Unless you run into an issue with the size, material or style of your starter jewelry, be sure to leave it in for the entire healing period. If an emergency happens and you need to change your jewelry during the healing process, visit your local shop again and see if they can fit you with a retainer.

I hope that this information has given you some insight on what to expect with your new piercing and you enjoy it for years to come.

* DISCLAIMER: This information is based on a combination of common sense, and research. This is not to be considered a substitute for medical advice from a doctor. If you suspect an infection, please seek medical attention.