Tongue Piercing Pain Scale 1-10: How Painful Is a Tongue Piercing?

Tongue Piercing Pain Scale 1-10

Tongue piercings have become an increasingly popular form of body modification over the past few decades. They offer a unique way for individuals to express themselves, and many find the end result to be worth the pain or discomfort associated with the procedure.

Tongue Piercing Pain Scale 1-10

How painful Is a tongue piercing? A tongue piercing typically falls between a 4-6 on a pain scale of 1-10, with 1 being minimal pain and 10 being unbearable.

The pain experienced during a tongue piercing can vary greatly from person to person, as individual pain tolerance and the skill of the piercer play important roles.

How Painful Is a Tongue Piercing?

Some people may describe the pain as a quick, sharp pinch, while others may feel a more intense, throbbing sensation. Swelling and discomfort may persist for a few days following the procedure, but overall, many find the pain to be manageable.

What does tongue piercing pain compared to? To provide a comparison, the pain has been described as similar to:

1. A Quick Pinch or a Bee Sting

Some people liken the initial piercing pain to the sensation of being pinched or stung by a bee. It can be a sharp, short-lived discomfort that subsides relatively quickly.

2. Biting Your Tongue

Another comparison is accidentally biting your tongue while chewing food. The pain level can be similar, but the piercing pain may be more localized and focused on the specific area being pierced.

3. A Dental Injection

Some individuals may compare the pain of a tongue piercing to the feeling of receiving a local anesthetic injection at the dentist’s office. The sensation of the needle puncturing the tongue can be reminiscent of the numbing shot.

How Long After Tongue Piercing Will Pain Go Away?

The initial pain from a tongue piercing typically subsides quickly after the procedure is completed. However, swelling, discomfort, and soreness may persist for a few days to a week after the piercing.

During the first 24-48 hours, swelling tends to be at its peak. Applying ice chips or cold compresses, taking over-the-counter pain relievers, and rinsing with a saline solution or alcohol-free mouthwash can help alleviate the discomfort during this period.

As the swelling reduces, the pain should gradually lessen. Within 7-10 days, most individuals experience significant improvements in both swelling and pain.

Complete healing of a tongue piercing usually takes anywhere from 4-6 weeks, but the pain should be minimal or non-existent after the first week.

Factors Influencing Pain

A few factors can influence the pain experienced during a tongue piercing:

1. Individual Pain Tolerance

People have varying pain tolerances, which can significantly impact how they perceive the pain of a tongue piercing. Some may find it mildly uncomfortable, while others may feel more intense pain.

2. Piercer Skill

The skill of the piercer can also play a crucial role in the level of pain experienced. A well-trained and experienced piercer can minimize pain by executing the procedure quickly and accurately.

3. Tongue Anatomy

The thickness and positioning of the tongue’s tissue can impact pain levels. Thicker tongues or tongues with more nerves close to the surface may experience increased pain during the piercing.

4. Mental Preparation

Being mentally prepared and relaxed can help minimize pain, as stress and anxiety can heighten pain perception.

5. Jewelry Selection

Choosing the right material, size, and style of jewelry for your tongue piercing can impact the pain experienced during and after the procedure. High-quality, hypoallergenic materials and appropriate sizing can help minimize irritation and discomfort.

To be detailed, opt for high-quality, hypoallergenic materials such as implant-grade titanium, surgical stainless steel, or niobium. These materials are less likely to cause an allergic reaction or irritation, which can lead to increased pain and discomfort.

The most common gauge (thickness) for a tongue piercing is 14G (1.6 mm). This size is suitable for most people and provides enough support for the healing process. A professional piercer can help you determine if a different gauge is more suitable for your specific needs.

The length of the barbell can vary, depending on the swelling and healing stage. Initially, a longer barbell is used to accommodate swelling, which is common in the first few days or weeks after the piercing. The typical length for an initial barbell is 5/8″ (16 mm) to 3/4″ (19 mm).

Once the swelling has subsided, usually within 1-2 weeks, the piercer may replace the initial jewelry with a shorter barbell. A shorter barbell is more comfortable and reduces the risk of damage to teeth and gums.

The standard length for a healed tongue piercing is 1/2″ (12 mm) to 5/8″ (16 mm), but this can vary depending on your individual anatomy.

What Helps With Tongue Piercing Pain?

There are several ways to manage pain during and after the tongue piercing procedure, including taking over-the-counter pain relievers, using cold compresses or ice chips, consuming cold and soft foods, and rinsing with warm saline solution or alcohol-free mouthwash to soothe the area and promote healing.

1. Topical Anesthetics

Some piercers offer topical anesthetics to numb the area before the procedure. While this option may not eliminate pain entirely, it can help to reduce it.

2. Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers

What to Take for Tongue Piercing Pain? Non-prescription pain relievers such as ibuprofen (e.g., Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) can help reduce pain and inflammation.

Always follow the recommended dosage instructions and consult a healthcare professional if you are unsure about taking medication.

3. Cold Compresses and Ice Chips

Applying cold compresses or sucking on ice chips can help numb the area, reduce swelling, and alleviate pain. Be careful not to apply direct ice to the pierced area, as it may stick to the jewelry and cause additional discomfort.

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4. Cold and Soft Foods

Eating cold, soft foods like ice cream, yogurt, or applesauce can provide some relief from pain and swelling. Avoid hot, spicy, or acidic foods that may irritate the piercing and increase pain.

5. Saltwater Rinses

Rinsing your mouth with a warm saline solution can help keep the piercing clean, reduce inflammation, and soothe discomfort.

Mix about 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized salt with 8 ounces of warm water, and gently swish the solution in your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out. Repeat this process several times a day, especially after eating.

6. Alcohol-Free Mouthwash

Using an alcohol-free mouthwash can help keep the area clean and alleviate pain. Alcohol-based mouthwashes can cause irritation and dryness, so opt for an alcohol-free version.

Tongue Piercing Aftercare

Proper aftercare is essential for a smooth healing process and to prevent complications after a tongue piercing. Follow these guidelines for tongue piercing aftercare:

  1. Oral hygiene: Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Avoid using alcohol-based mouthwashes, as they can cause irritation and delay healing. Instead, opt for an alcohol-free mouthwash or saline solution.
  2. Saline solution rinses: Rinse your mouth with a warm saline solution (1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized salt mixed with 8 ounces of warm water) several times a day, especially after eating. This helps to keep the area clean and reduce inflammation.
  3. Cold compresses and ice chips: Applying cold compresses or sucking on ice chips can help reduce swelling and alleviate pain. Be careful not to apply direct ice to the pierced area, as it may stick to the jewelry and cause additional discomfort.
  4. Soft food diet: Stick to a soft food diet for the first few days to minimize discomfort while eating. Examples include yogurt, applesauce, mashed potatoes, and smoothies. Gradually reintroduce solid foods as your tongue heals and swelling subsides.
  5. Avoid irritants: Stay away from hot, spicy, or acidic foods and beverages for the first few days after the procedure, as they can irritate the piercing and increase pain. Also, avoid alcohol and smoking, as they can hinder the healing process.
  6. Limit oral activity: Refrain from activities that could strain or irritate the tongue, such as smoking or playing with the piercing. Avoid oral contact with others during the healing process to reduce the risk of infection.
  7. Jewelry care: Do not remove or change the jewelry during the healing process, as this can cause complications and delay healing. A professional piercer may replace the initial jewelry with a shorter barbell after the swelling has subsided, typically within 1-2 weeks.
  8. Monitor for signs of infection: Keep an eye out for signs of infection, such as increased pain, swelling, redness, discharge, or fever. If you suspect an infection, consult a healthcare professional or your piercer for guidance.

The healing process for a tongue piercing typically takes 4-6 weeks. However, it is essential to continue practicing good aftercare habits even after the piercing has healed to maintain oral health and prevent complications.


A tongue piercing can be a unique form of self-expression, but it’s essential to understand the potential pain and risks involved.

By choosing a reputable piercer, following proper aftercare, and employing pain management techniques, you can minimize discomfort and enjoy a smoother healing process.

Be prepared for some pain and swelling, and always consult a healthcare professional if you encounter any complications or concerns.

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