How to Change a Tongue Piercing

Two Methods:Doing it yourselfHaving someone else change the piercing

Changing a tongue piercing is best done with another's help in the first healing period. When changing a piercing at home, this is best achieved with a labret stud. If you're in any doubt, get help.


  1. Image titled Change a Tongue Piercing Step 2
    Be aware that removal of the tongue piercing too early after its creation can result in the hole quickly closing up. Moreover, any reinsertion of the jewelry is likely to cause a lot of pain.

Method 1
Doing it yourself

You can change a labret stud yourself, provided that the piercing has healed completely. Rinse mouth out first with warm, salty water.

  1. 1
    Wash your hands. Your hands need to be clean to handle a piercing, no matter how healed it is. Dry your hands well after––dry hands allow you to gain a better grip so that the piercing doesn't slip out of your hands.
  2. 2
    Rinse your mouth. Use a mixture of water and salt (warm water will dissolve it better) or anti-bacterial mouthwash, focusing on the piercing itself.
  3. 3
    Position yourself in front of a large mirror to help guide you.
  4. 4
    Stick out your tongue. Stick your tongue out as far as you can so as not to risk swallowing any piercings.
  5. 5
    Bite down on the back of the stud firmly but slowly (be careful not to harm your teeth!). Keep this position to hold the stud in place.
  6. 6
    Place the base of the piercing on your thumb. Then carefully hold your tongue with your index and middle finger either side of the bar. This will hold it steady and also ensure the bar does not slip out of the tongue in the process.
  7. 7
    Unscrew the ball clockwise. This is the way that the piercing will loosen.
    • Make sure you place the ball in a safe place so as not to lose it or swallow it.
  8. 8
    Remove the bar from the tongue. Do so without letting it drop in your mouth or out of your hands.
    • If you are struggling, it is best to get someone else to do it for you, preferably someone who has handled similar piercings.
  9. Image titled Change a Tongue Piercing Step 4
    Replace with a new piercing. Add the new one by screwing it back into place.
    • Always ensure the ball is secure if screwed back on to avoid losing the piercing.
    • If you do lose the ball or bar in the process, consult a professional piercing artist as soon as possible, as they can re-pierce any closed holes.
  10. 10
    Complete with another rinse out to ensure that there are no germs left behind.

Method 2
Having someone else change the piercing

  1. Image titled Change a Tongue Piercing Step 1
    See a jeweler or piercer for changing a tongue ring. They will use pliers adapted to removal of the ring from the ball and it's not recommended that you try to do this yourself.
    • If possible, it is best to return to the person who originally made your piercing. Ask this person to make the change. Your piercer will provide advice on whether or not it is a suitable time to be changing a piercing as there are risks of the hole closing up again. This is normal for initial piercings where the barbell needs to be changed from a longer one to a shorter one about two weeks post-piercing, reflecting your tongue's healing process.


  • Screw studs on clockwise and off counter-clockwise.
  • When changing a labret stud yourself, a piercer can reopen any closed piercing using a taper pin should this problem happen to you.
  • Keep the same gauge when replacing; otherwise you might find it is both painful and does not fit well. Fourteen gauge or higher is appropriate; any smaller and you risk discomfort and movement through the tongue.


  • Do not pierce yourself; unless you are professionally trained, always seek a professional.
  • Leaving tongue jewelry out for any length of time risks the hole closing very fast, even for experienced, long-term wearers.
  • Do not remove before the mandatory healing period as specified by your piercing artist.
  • Generally, healing time for a tongue piercing is six months; during this time, the tendency for the hole to be painful and to close quickly is at its highest.
  • Do not force a piercing into a hole that has began re-healing, as this can cause serious and/or permanent damage.

Article Info

Categories: Tattoos and Piercing