Venom Tongue Piercing – Everything You Need to Know

A venom tongue piercing is a duplicate tongue piercing that you can get on any tongue side. It’s not as hardcore as it appears to be but it is sometimes referred to as a tongue eye-piercing due to the rounded spots on the jewellery that look like frog eyes once you open your mouth.

What kinds of jewelry are involved in this piercing?

Straight-line barbels are one of the most frequent kinds of jewellery used for venom tongue piercings. The barbell used consists of two ball edges that keep it fixed at the front and exit spots. The ones used for first-time piercings have to be long enough to host swelling as there is going to be some.

Once the venom pierced area has healed completely, you may change the big and long barrels for smaller ones.

What material choices are there for jewelry?

The APP ( Association of Professional Piercers) suggests jewellery made from gold metal, biodegradable plastics or metal materials that are approved by the ASTM International (American Society for Testing & Materials Standard and the ISO quality testing body.

Search for jewellery crafted from the following materials:

  • Surgical level steel. Choose surgical steel jewelry which is ISO-10993, ISO 5832-1, or ASTM F-138 approved. Remember that even surgical level stainless steel has some nickel levels which may cause adverse side effects if you are allergic to nickel.
  • Titanium. Implant-level titanium doesn’t contain any nickel and hence it’s a great choice for those allergic or sensitive to nickel. Make sure that the titanium material you get is compatible with the ASTM F-136 or ISO 5832-3 standards. Commercially pure titanium should also comply with ASTM F-136 standards.
  • 14-karat or higher purity gold. Jewelry made of gold should be a min. 14 karats. Gold-plated, gold filled or gold overlaid jewellery should be avoided as they have other lower quality metal allowed in them which may tear and chip off.
  • Niobium. Niobium is a thin metal similar to titanium but with no implant-level overlay. It;s good option for piercing as it is inexpensive and hypoallergenic.
  • Biodegradable plastics. Also known as biocompatible polymers e.g. Tygon and Bioplast, they are safe for first-time piercings. They also make a great option for mouth area piercings as they are unlikely to cause any damage or infection to gums and teeth. Some studies also indicate that they are also less sensitive to bacterial spread compared to other materials.

How much does it cost on average to get the piercing done?

In most cases, the cost for a venom tongue piercing ranges from $60-100 (excluding the jewellery piece). The cost of the jewellery piece ranges from $10-30.

The price you’ll pay depends on the area and reputation of the studio you choose, the piercer’s experience and of course the material used. Also, when you calculate the total cost, it’s best to include a 20% tip.

How is the piercing performed?

The piercer will check your tongue and make sure it’s in good condition to start piercing it. Afterwards, you have to pick your jewellery and complete some papers such as a consent form.

While some steps may differ slightly depending on the piercer, the basic steps followed in a piercing process are:

  1. The piercer will give you an antibacterial mouthwash to rinse your mouth and decrease the levels of bacteria present in your mouth.
  2. The piercer will also pinpoint the entrance and exit edges for each barbell with a non-toxic marker.
  3. Small forceps will be applied to keep your tongue fixed and prepared for the needle piercing.
  4. A void and disinfected needle will be injected from the under layer of the tongue through the entry mark.
  5. The piercer does the same step on the opposite side of the tongue.
  6. You will wash your mouth with a mouth rinse for another time and the piercer will remove any blood with tissue.

Is it painful?

Yes, for the most part. However, most folks that had a venom piercing before describe the pain level a bit over 5 on a ladder from 1-10. They also claim that it hurts way more than a typical tongue piercing and the second piercing may be more painful than the initial one.

The amount of pain though you’ll experience is tricky to tell as it depends on your sensitivity and overall pain tolerance.

What are the risks and side effects that may come with this tongue piercing?

Swelling, bleeding and wounds are perfectly normal right after you pierce your tongue but in most cases, the symptoms subside after a week or so.

Tongue piercings do come with some potential complications. These may involve:

  • Bloodborne and serious infections such as tetanus, HIV or hepatitis B and C from infected needles.
  • Bacterial infections emerging from lack of sterilization before the procedure or poor care after the procedure.
  • Allergic responses. Some materials and especially nickel may trigger allergic reactions to those with skin sensitivity.
  • Intense swelling of the tongue and air path clogging. A bit of swelling is expected but if the swelling is excessive, your breathing paths may get blocked.
  • Severe bleeding. If a blood vessel is hit during a piercing, this will cause severe bleeding.
  • Gum and teeth problems. Your jewelry may go against your gums and teeth and attack the teeth enamel and gums. There is also a risk of breaking a tooth if you accidentally chew on your jewelry piece.
  • Excess production of saliva. Tongue piercings in some cases trigger the release of excess saliva, leading to drooling.
  • Heart and brain infections. Even though this side effect is uncommon, there are a few reported cases of people developing heart and brain abscesses from bacterial infections that enter the bloodstream when the tongue is pierced.
  • Damage of the nerves. Another uncommon yet potential side effect of tongue piercings. In the majority of incidents, it occurred during the actual piercing procedure. If it hits a nerve beneath the tongue, it may also (rarely) cause trigeminal neuralgia, as evidenced in the 2006 case.
  • Choking and swallowing risk. Swallowing or choking on a loosened or damaged jewelry piece may happen. Hence, selecting a quality material and tools is very important.

How long does it take to heal?

Since lots of germs exist in your mouth already, the healing process may take longer than usual, especially if you had 2 piercings or more. But, if you properly take care of the area and there are no side effects, the average healing period is between 6 to 8 weeks.

Bear in mind that not all people heal at the same pace as there are many different factors involved e.g. their personal health state or lifestyle.

What type of aftercare do I need?

Good aftercare is essential for decreasing the risk of side effects and for speeding up the healing process.

During the healing stage, you will have to:

  • Chew and eat soft foods for a few days right after the procedure
  • Relax your tongue by not talking for a while
  • Brush your teeth 2X every day with a soft-fiber brush.
  • Rinse your mouth with diluted mouthwash or ice bath to control swelling
  • Touch your piercing only with clear hands.
  • Apply some ice to the area to control swelling and irritation.
  • Take an OTC drug against inflammation and pain such as Naproxen or Ibuprofen.

You are also advised to refrain from:

  • Having any oral sex or open mouth and french (tongue involved) kissing.
  • Playing or teasing your jewelry piece.
  • Sharing any drinking cups or kitchen utensils.
  • Chewing gum or anything that may possibly hide bacteria e.g pens or pencils.
  • Doing a heavy physical activity that causes friction on the mouth
  • Taking off the jewelry before you heal completely.

Signs of an issue

Even though some swelling, bruising and pain are normal during the first week, they will subside gradually. Anything beyond that may indicate a problem. It’s best to see your Doctor if you experience any:

  • Irritation and redness surrounding the pierced area
  • Intense or heightened pain, swelling or bleeding
  • A fat green or yellow discharge and fluid from the pierced areas
  • A rancid smell coming from the piercing spots
  • Fever episode

Removing or changing the piece before the area is completely healed

Changing or removing your jewellery before it heals completely may induce the risk of getting an infection or damage the area.

It’s best to wait until the indicated healing period is over before you get rid of or change your jewellery.

Once it heals, your piercer can do the change for you or you can go DIY.

Disposing the piercing

If you no longer want the piercing, just take off the jewellery carefully and allow the holes to heal and seal. Based on the amount of time you had them in total, you will likely experience slight scarring or tiny bumps at the pierced spots.

What to do next

If you wish to finally go for a venom piercing, look for a trusted and experienced piercer that is approved by APP.

It’s also best to determine the quality and standards followed by the piercer before you actually use them by:

  • Visiting their studio in person to find out if it’s clean and possibly ask about their disinfection measures.
  • Making sure that the people involved really know their job and that they make you feel at ease.
  • Getting some good quality and hypoallergenic jewelry.