I feel I should add some personal experience to this node, which should also serve to explain the procedure involved.

I have my tongue pierced and I'd have to say that it is a most interesting experience. I'd highly recommend the procedure to any folks curious about it. My SO swears blind that kissing and oral sex are now vastly improved as a result. I also have a couple of novelty balls that glow under ultraviolet light, which is always fun when visiting clubs and bars.

If I've now tipped you toward getting the piercing, here's what happens from go to woah.

  • You select a someone to do the piercing. This is the most important step. I believe that when looking to be pierced you should avoid tattooists and hairdressers who do a sideline in body piercing and find someone who does the job full time. This is simply my preference however. It is important to be comfortable with the person who is punching holes in you.
  • The piercer will look at your tongue to assess whether it is suitable for the piercing. I'm not too sure what makes a tongue unsuitable to be pierced. That may have something to do with length.
  • You rinse your mouth out with some mouthwash while the piercer prepares the needle and jewelery.
  • A mark will be placed on your tongue with a felt pen indicating the place where the new piercing will go. You are given the chance to approve the position, or move it.
  • Once you're happy with the positioning, the piercer will put a light antiseptic on the piercing area and take hold of your tongue using some foreceps. This is to both flatten out the piercing site and prevent you from instinctively retracting your tongue.
  • Now the painful part!. The needle is pushed through your tongue into a cork resting on the underside. The pain is momentary and akin to biting your tongue hard with your incisor.
  • Since the needle is hollow, the jewelry is pushed through the inside of needle. The needle is then removed and the balls are screwed onto the barbell to hold it in place.
  • "Rinse and spit" and you're done.

There are some excellent aftercare instructions already noted above, so I'll skip those. However be aware that because of the swelling quite a long barbell is used for the initial piercing. Once the swelling has gone down I'd recommend getting the bar shortened. This makes the piercing much more comfortable to wear.