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Tongue ring question: How long can you leave it out before...

Posted 23rd May 2009
it grows over? And does it grow "shut" at all?

Had my tongue ring and some other piercings for about 7 years now.
Recently took my tongue ring out as I wanted a new one, had it out for over 2 weeks and the "hole" was still there.
Does anyone know if it grows over at all and if so, how long does it take roughly?
No assumptions please lol I can make those myself.
Thanks in advance guys and gals
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[Guide] Caring for your tongue piercing

Tongue piercings are one of the most popular piercings to get but are also one of the trickiest to care for. That’s because the mouth is a hotbed for bacteria, which means tongue piercings can quickly become infected. We’ve made this quick guide so that you can know exactly how to care for it and what not to do when caring for your tongue piercing.

The 5 Different Types of Tongue Piercings: How Piercings Work

There’s 5 different locations in and around the tongue that are typically pierced:

  • Midline – The most common type goes right into the centre of tongue, done with a straight barbell.
  • Tip – The top of the tongue can also be directly pierced, with the balls of the barbell sticking out in two. These are sometimes referred to as “snake eyes”.
  • Side – Done in a similar fashion to midline piercings, with the incision made to either the left or the right side of the tongue.
  • Horizontal – With this piercing, the tongue is pierced from side to side with the bar going through the middle of your tongue. While these piercings are theoretically possible, they can be very dangerous, so be sure to have this one done with a tongue piercing specialist.
  • Frenulum – The underside of the tongue is pierced, with a curved barbell or circular barbell being used.

What To Do After Getting Your Tongue Piercing

So, how long does it take for a tongue piercing to close? It takes between 6-8 weeks for your tongue piercing to heal and it’s in this phase that infections can be the most likely to occur, so tongue piercing aftercare is very important. You should clean the area around your piercing regularly throughout the day (although be sure not to do so too often). You can use either sea-salt or mouthwash diluted in water as a cleaning mixture. Make sure you wash your hands thoroughly before cleaning the piercing. It’s also important to clean your teeth and tongue regularly each morning and night.

After the healing period, you’ll need to keep the piercing in for at least 6 months in order to make sure the piercing doesn’t close itself. If you want to be on the safe side, you should leave the piercing in for one year.

How Do Piercings Heal and How Long Can I Leave My Tongue Ring Out?

When you pierce a part of the body, you are causing minor trauma to that part of the body. SO how do tongue piercings heal? Your body’s natural response is to heal this part of the body by closing the wound and allow it to scar. With a piercing, you are stopping your immune system from performing its natural response to injury. This causes the body to alter its healing process by going through 3 stages.

  • Early healing phase – In the early days after receiving the piercing, the site will be sensitive to even slight contact. You may be tempted to fidget with the piercing but this will only cause bleeding, raise the risk of infection and lengthen healing time. It’s also likely that the site will swell up during this time, leading some to dub this phase the ‘inflammation phase’.
  • Main healing phase – Your body begins to learn that this site isn’t going to heal and sends different kinds of agents to the body. These will help to heal the area, destroy bacteria and toughen up the area around the piercing to prevent further damage. While it’s not as bad to occasional touch off the piercing during this stage, you should still continue to avoid regular contact with the piercing site during this time. This stage lasts several months, so you’ll need to take care if you still think your piercing is at this stage of the healing cycle.
  • Maturation phase – Your immune system begins to stop firing in this area and the piercing beings to toughen up. You may notice a clear, thick substance form around the piercing. This is a result of your body trying to moisturise the site and is completely normal. If it’s irritating you, simply take some lukewarm water and dab gently around the piercing.