The most common jewelry worn on tongue piercing is dumbbell shaped, also known as the barbells. Barbells usually consist of a metal/ non metal bar with balls attached at each end. Apart from barbells, rings and labrets have also gained popularity. The jewelry used for tongue piercing should be so designed to allow cleaning and removal of dirt during the healing period without much movement of the jewelry.
1. Surgical stainless steel should be used for the tongue piercing to produce infection free and reaction free piercing. Allergy to it is rare.
2. 18 karat Gold can also be used for the new piercing. Low quality gold i.e. less than 75% gold or gold plated jewelry should not be used for the risk of foreign body reactions. The gold plating wears off in the oral cavity very soon as it comes in contact with the food and saliva, exposing the metal underneath which can cause allergy and reaction in the body. Also white gold should not be used as it contains nickel to which many people are allergic.
3. Titanium is another good option for tongue jewelry to get a reaction free piercing. Apart from this, titanium is also used as implants. It is light weight and totally inert metal. A highly polished titanium jewelry though costlier than other metals is the best option in sensitive individuals.
4. Silver should not be used for the new piercing in the tongue as it gets tarnished and corroded in the oral cavity. This can discolor the jewelry and may cause allergic reactions at the wound site.
5. Teflon and Nylon piercing are also available and may be used by people who are sensitive to metals.
6. Acrylic Studs and bars are also available. These are better for tongue piercing as these don’t cause any harm to teeth and gums they come in contact with.
Barbells are measured by the length of the bar. . The length of barbell you need will vary somewhat based on the thickness of your tongue, but 3/4" (19mm) is usually a good size to allow for the inevitable swelling that occurs after the piercing. In tongue piercing usually longer barbell should be used initially. This accounts for the swelling that occurs in the tongue after piercing and prevents the tongue tissue from healing over the barbell ends as might happen in case of smaller barbells. After the swelling goes off and the tongue heals, a shorter barbell can be used according to convenience and personal choice. Once healed, 5/8" (16mm) is the most common length and stretching is easy if that's what you're looking to do. Larger barbells become a site for plaque and calculus deposition on the tongue.
Rings are usually measured by its diameter. Thicker rings should be better avoided to prevent injury to the tongue. The jewelry gauze should never be below 14 as thicker jewelry increases the risk of foreign body reactions.
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