What I Wish I Knew about Oral Piercings Before I Got Them

I have some experience with oral piercings.

I got my tongue pierced ten days before my nineteenth birthday with a tall, biracial man I was deeply in love with. I just didn’t know it at the time.

Of course, it hurt. To my surprise, it didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. I held his hand as the needle went through, and when the barbell was securely fastened inside, the sharp pains that came whenever I moved my tongue were unexpected.

We went back to his house late that night and ate peanut butter on bread. I couldn’t believe the pain! Then again why would anyone in their right mind try to eat peanut butter hours after they got their tongue pierced?

Did I mention he was a whimsical, childish, ADHD-afflicted unicorn? Or something like that.

I had my tongue pierced for about five years before taking it out due to a dental problem. You’ll hear about that in a minute.

About a month before my twenty-third birthday, I went to Ocean City with a friend of mine. She wanted to get her tongue pierced but was really scared. Long story short, we had a little bit too much to drink with her sister. Then we went on the boardwalk to get piercings.

I’d always wanted my lip pierced but never gotten it done. That fall would be my senior year of college at Penn State and I knew I’d have to get a “real job” after that (we see how that turned out, right?) and probably wouldn’t be able to get my lip pierced. It was now or never!

So I forgot about my internship in Baltimore for all of twenty minutes while I got a needle shoved through my lip. I was surprised how much that one hurt.

I still have my lip pierced.

So what do I wish I knew about oral piercings before I got them? What I know now about oral piercings may surprise you.

Oral Piercings Will Cause Problems with Your Teeth

Okay, yeah, I definitely heard this one but didn’t believe it. These were the notions about oral piercings of adults who didn’t want me to be the badass that I really was.

I took my tongue ring out because, after years of having it, my tooth sensitivity was getting worse. I later realized that the barbell had been rubbing along the inner edge of my bottom teeth, slowly wearing the enamel away and creating some not-so-fun tooth sensitivity.

Although things were pretty safe with my tongue ring in, I also occasionally knocked it against my teeth (this happened maybe about five times in all the years I had it in). I’m honestly not sure if I chipped any of my teeth but it’s definitely possible.

In regards to my lip piercing, it slowly rubbed on my lower right canine. I now have gum recession on that tooth. You can’t see it from the outside but there’s a significant amount of gum tissue missing compared to the other side.

When I noticed this, I freaked out a little and took my lip ring out after having it for over four years. So yeah—oral piercings can and will cause gum recession and tooth sensitivity, both signs of gum disease!

The Hole Will Not Go Away

When I took my lip ring out, the hole didn’t heal up. I had that sucker out for about eight months and the hole was still there, very visible from the outside of my face.

I assumed that the hole would heal up given time. But then I started Googling.

Turns out, when they pierce your lip, they core away a tiny piece of your skin that—you guessed it—won’t grow back. So while there’s not an actual “hole” there per se, it looks just like a hole and it’s definitely noticeable.

Hmm… did not think about that one before I got my lip pierced.

So then I found myself months before my wedding with a hole in my lip that I found out could only be corrected with plastic surgery, which would ultimately leave scars. Either way, I was stuck with this oral piercing whether or not the stud was in.

The only logical thing to do was to buy a pack of piercing needles on Amazon and re-pierce that thing. (Side note: I do not recommend doing this although my experience went fine.)

So now my lip stud is back in and I’ll probably be stuck with it forever unless I want a hole in my face. Fortunately, the hole from your tongue ring will heal up rather quickly, but there will always be a scar there too. Oral piercings cause scars and sometimes permanent holes!

Professional People Cared Far Less about Oral Piercings Than I Thought

Unless you’re going into the military, it’s unlikely that what kind of job you get will determine whether or not you can have an oral piercing.

My super cool neighbor saw my tongue ring not long after I got it and said, “You’ll want to take that out when you go for a job interview.”

I got hired at my internship in Baltimore, my amazing job at a homeless shelter in DC, and yes, I made my own freelance writing job all with piercings in my face.

Of course, if you’re going for a high-level job, you might want to think about that before getting oral piercings. For me, I love piercings and couldn’t imagine being at a job that wouldn’t let me have them. Back when I was in college I didn’t know that. I thought I’d have to sacrifice my soul to be anything worthwhile to the world.

So the bottom line is: if you want that oral piercing, get it. No one who actually cares about you will judge you. 

I adored my oral piercings. Although I’m unlikely to get my tongue pierced again, I’ll probably have this lip stud in for a long time. I loved my oral piercings much more than I thought I would. I’m sad that they caused problems with my teeth and wish that I took that consideration a little more seriously before I went under the needle. I also wish I knew that when I committed to the lip piercing, that I’d be committing to it for life. Like a tattoo!

But don’t get me started on those 🙂

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