Tongue piercings have become increasingly popular over the years. But be careful; they are also very tricky to care for. They require good oral hygiene, especially in the first six weeks of piercing. You should not remove the barbell for up to six months (or longer); otherwise, the hole may close. But once you’ve had a tongue ring for many years, will it ever close?
Tongue piercing holes do close. The older the piercing, the slower the hole will close. New piercings close in a few hours, older piercings close in a few days or weeks. Piercings where the hole has been stretched may never close fully. Surgical intervention to close stretched piercings is possible.
There may be many reasons you remove your tongue ring. When you remove it, you want to know that the tongue-piercing hole will close. How quickly and if it will close completely depends on the age of the piercing and a few variables with the person. Below is all the tongue piercing information you will need to know about a tongue piercing hole closing. Keep reading!
How Long Will A Tongue Piercing Hole Take To Close?
The tongue is an incredibly resilient organ. Being a muscle, if the piercing is new and you remove the barbell, it will begin to heal the hole and close it up within minutes.
Within the first six weeks of getting the tongue piercing it will close in a few hours to one day.
The older the tongue piercing gets, the longer it will take to close. A tongue piercing that has been in for a few years will take a few days or weeks to close.
Tongue piercings that have been stretched may never close completely.
Why A Stretched Tongue Piercing Hole Will Never Close
A standard tongue piercing fitted with a 14-gauge barbell is a small enough hole for the body to heal in a short amount of time. Piercings with a wider diameter that may cause more scarring, like an 8 gauge and higher, will need more time to heal and close.
In some cases, the scarring around the hole and your body getting ‘used’ to the hole in the tongue may cause it to never close fully. The stretched tongue piercing hole may shrink in time but leave a small hole in the middle.
In the early healing phase, the body views the hole as a wound that needs to be healed as soon as possible and focuses on doing this. Because there is a barbell stopping the hole from closing, the tongue does its best by sending antibodies, swelling, and bleeding. If the piercing is removed in this stage, it will close in minutes or hours.
After the tongue piercing has been in for a few weeks, your body will stop trying to heal the wound and ‘accept’ the piercing as a foreign object to work around. Your antibodies will focus on strengthening the area of the piercing and will fight off bacteria. This is the primary healing phase and can last for several months. If the tongue ring is removed in this stage, it will start closing in a matter of days.
In the maturation phase, the tongue piercing will become stronger around the edges. When a 14-gauge piercing is stretched further this scar tissue and stronger edges get stretched. This is why a stretched tongue piercing will often not close fully, because the scar tissue itself has been stretched and forced to re-heal.
What Will Make A Tongue Piercing Close Faster?
In the case of a tongue piercing that has been open for a few years, a person with a strong immune system may find that the piercing closes very quickly. Boosting your immune system while the hole is closing may help it to close faster. In this case, it may be only a few days.
A big part of how quickly a tongue-piercing hole will close depends on oral hygiene. The better the oral hygiene, the quicker it is likely to close. Use a diluted mouth wash regularly and brush your teeth and tongue in the morning and evening.
Because so many different foods and objects are put in the mouth, it contains harmful bacteria. These bacteria could cause the hole to close more slowly or to scar when it is closing. Be sure to clean the tongue-piercing area properly and regularly.
Does A Closed Tongue Piercing Hole Leave A Scar?
Once a tongue-piercing hole has closed, it should not leave a scar, bump, or mark. If there were complications or infections with the piercing when it was first put in, there might be a bump at the site.
Keep your new tongue piercing site clean and follow all the necessary instructions throughout the healing process. There shouldn’t be any complications.
If you remove the tongue ring, once the tongue piercing hole is closed, the new tissue that has filled the hole will be scar tissue, but you won’t usually be able to tell the difference between this tissue and the non-scar tissue around it.
Where Are The Different Places You Can Put A Tongue Ring?
A tongue ring piercing can be placed in five different locations on the tongue:
- Vertically through the midline
- Horizontally through the tip of the tongue
- Vertically on either side of the midline, often in pairs
- Horizontally through the middle of the tongue
- Horizontally through the frenulum
The most common of these five tongue piercings is vertically through the midline. Usually done in the center of the tongue with a simple, straight barbell.
A horizontal tongue piercing through the tip of the tongue is also popular. The barbell cannot be seen, but the balls of the barbell show on either side of the tip of the tongue, which gives this tongue the nickname ‘snake eyes’.
A vertical tongue piercing on either side of the midline is done the same way as a midline piercing, only off-center. Because a piercing on only one side of the tongue would look uneven, most people get a set, with one on either side of the tongue midline.
A horizontal piercing through the middle of the tongue has the most distance to travel through the muscle and can be very painful, and should only ever be attempted by a piercing professional. The tongue is pierced from one side to the other across the whole tongue.
A horizontal piercing through the frenulum is popular because it can be easily concealed. Often a curved or circular barbell is put in this piercing.
Because each of these tongue piercings is different in some way, if the hole will close and how quickly it will close will differ.
Tongue piercing holes do close. Generally, the longer the piercing has been in the tongue, the longer it will take to close fully. How quickly it closes also depends on a person’s natural ability to heal and the condition of their immune system. A tongue ring piercing that has been stretched and caused the scar tissue to pull and re-heal may never close fully, though. There are different types of tongue piercings, and each one will heal in different ways. Keep the tongue piercing site clean to avoid infections and unnecessary scarring. The hole should close fully once the barbell is removed.
Some of my favorite designs, tattoo books, and aftercare products, selected for you
Thank you for reading my article, I hope that you have found it helpful. If you would have trouble finding ideas for your tattoo, wonder what is meaning of design that you have found or what to buy for aftercare, to make sure that your tattoo will be healing quickly and easily, here are some of my favorite products in one place, hope that this will also help.
Design and tattoo ideas
For some ideas you can have a look at those 3 books with hundreds of designs that I use with my clients, they are available on Amazon for Kindle or in classic, paper version (links below):
- Great Book of Tattoo Designs, Revised Edition: More than 500 Body Art Designs (Fox Chapel Publishing) Fantasy, Celtic, Floral, Wildlife, and Symbol Designs for the Skin by Lora Irish
- The Big Book of Small Tattoos – Vol.1: 400 small original tattoos for women and men by Roberto Gemori
- Tiny Tattoos: Over 1,000 Small Inspirational Artworks by Rebecca Vincent.
If you would like to read more about the meaning of different tattoo styles and designs before you will decide what you would like to have, I can recommend a book that was really useful for me when I was starting my tattoo adventure – it’s “Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos” by Lisa Barretta (through the link you can find it on Amazon for around $10).
The skin at the tattoo site often dries out. To prevent it and speed up healing for my clients, I usually recommend one of those tattoo aftercare balms (you can find them on Amazon):
- https://www.hotukdeals.com/discussions/tongue-ring-question-how-long-can-you-leave-it-out- before-395447