Entertainment Fashion & Style What You Need to Know About Tongue Piercings Share PINTEREST Email Print Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images Fashion & Style Tattoos and Body Piercings Accessories Tops & Sweaters Dresses Skirts Jeans Pants Outerwear Lingerie & Swimwear Do It Yourself Shoes Skincare Advice Makeup Hair Fragrance Kids and Teens Bumps & Babies Learn More By Karen L. Hudson Contributing Writer Karen L. Hudson is a tattoo artist and contributing writer for Byrdie. our editorial process Karen L. Hudson Updated March 22, 2018 Tongue piercings have become one of the most popular options for body modification fans. Many people think tongue piercings look sexy and claim that the piercing can enhance sexual experiences. Despite the seemingly simple nature of a tongue piercing, they are often wrought with difficulties. Do Tongue Piercings Hurt? Tongue piercings aren't complicated to get—the piercing process is painful, but not unbearable. Some piercers will say that piercing from the top down or from the bottom up is better, but honestly none of that matters as long as it's pierced carefully and correctly. You will likely feel a bit of pressure, especially if the piercing is done near the back of the tongue which has fewer nerve endings. The next day, you'll find that your tongue has swollen and feels sore, but ice can help with the swelling and pain. The Piercing Process Your piercer will use a large needle to pierce your tongue. The barbell your tongue will initially be pierced with should be extra long because your tongue is going to swell up quite a bit. It's imperative that you change the jewelry out to a shorter barbell once your tongue is healed. Having a longer barbell allows for extra play and makes it all too easy to accidentally chomp down on one of the balls while talking or eating. You can even break your teeth. How Long Does It Take to Heal? Your piercing should be fully healed about 3 to 4 weeks after the initial piercing. While your new piercing is healing, do not smoke or use harsh mouthwash of any kind. The tar and toxins in cigarette smoke are so bad for your piercing and Listerine or similar mouthwashes can actually burn your tongue flesh. Cutting the mouthwash with water dilutes the bacteria-killing properties, so it's best to use something mild like Biotene. Can You Swallow a Tongue Ring? While your piercing heals, tighten your barbell ends every day to make sure it's secure. They often come apart and you may accidentally swallow the jewelry. While swallowing jewelry shouldn't cause pain or injury, it is a little scary knowing a metal ball or barbell is making its way through your digestive system. If you feel pain or tenderness along your digestive tract go see a doctor immediately.