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Not as bad as I thought, but aftercare was terrible!

I should start this by mentioning that I have a few body piercings and am somewhat experienced in the body modification lifestyle. I got my first piercings at 3 and have been pierced 9 times (4 earlobe, 1 cartilage, nostril, bilateral nipples and navel) since then. I'd wanted a tongue piercing for a long time and finally decided to go through with it this past month. I was in the middle of a summer internship at a hospital when I made the decision to get my tongue pierced as soon as it ended. The day the internship ended, off to Lark I went.

I usually get my piercings at Utopia in Hicksville, but my piercer wasn't in that day and I was leaving for CA the next day, so I decided to try Lark after hearing mostly great things about the piercers there.

On a Wednesday night in late July, I entered Lark and asked which piercer was around. They told me Craig was in and would come and speak with me shortly. I had done my research on BME, so when he asked if I had any questions, I only had a few: what gauge do you pierce at? (he told me 14, which was acceptable), what initial jewelry do you use? (he told me a 14g 7/8" stainless steel barbell, which was also acceptable), and what is the cost? ($65 including tax, which was fine with me). I affirmed that I was ready and he told me he'd call me back in a few minutes.

About ten minutes later, he called me into the back of the studio. He handed me a small cup of Listerine and had me swish for 30 seconds and then sit in a chair outside of a room, which I felt was slightly annoying (not having a private room) but tolerable. He explained the procedure to me, donned sterile gloves, and clamped my tongue. He carefully inspected my tongue top and bottom, to make sure he would not be compromising any veins. When he was satisfied with my anatomy, he marked my tongue and told me to take a deep breath. I was a bit concerned that he did not ask me to check placement but I also had my tongue clamped and couldn't really say anything. I took a deep breath, and on the exhale he inserted the needle. The piercing itself wasn't particularly painful, but the insertion of the jewelry was much more uncomfortable. After the piercing was finished he had me swish with water and explained the aftercare with me. He told me to ice ice ice and to rinse with L isterine after eating/smoking/drinking anything besides water as well as upon waking and before going to bed. I thanked him, paid my bill, tipped him $10 and was on my merry way.

I immediately went to the nearest McDonald's and got a huge cup of ice, which I consumed over the course of the night. The first night wasn't that bad; I was a bit achy but not unable to eat. The next few days, however, were hell. I spent the next three days consuming very soft foods and lots and lots of ice. The piercing swelled up to the entire length of the barbell, and the top ball started to make a significant dent in my tongue. That dent became a crater which looked much like an open wound over the five days following my piercing. As soon as I got back into NY (6 days after being pierced) I went back to Lark to question Craig about the crater. He told me it was normal and that it happened to a lot of people, and to keep cleaning it regularly and it should heal. He also said that if it didn't begin to heal on its own, he had an acrylic piece that looked like a little washer that I could place between the top ball and my tongue to prevent the ball from sitting in
the crater and allow it to heal. Although this sounds nice in theory, it concerned me because I've always been told that acrylic is not safe for new piercings as it is porous and will hold any absorbed bacteria/lymph/etc in the open wound.

I was still concerned, so I went to Utopia to speak to Ben, who does most of my piercings. He told me that Craig had pierced my tongue too "straight" and that he (Ben) usually pierces at a more significant angle, to avoid the crater. He also told me that I was over-cleaning my tongue with the Listerine (it was turning yellow) and to switch to a non-alcoholic mouthwash AM & PM and sea salt/water rinses in between. That advice made all the difference in the world. Over the next week, the swelling went down, my tongue went back to its normal color, and the crater began to heal. I am now about 3 weeks post-piercing and am rinsing with Tech 2000 in the AM and PM and sea salt/water in between. My piercing looks great, is healing well, and is not swollen at all. I don't know if I would go back to Lark for piercings in the future, but I'm glad it all worked out in the end.

Details

submitted by: Anonymous
on: 23 Sept. 2008
in Tongue Piercing

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Artist: craig
Studio: lark+tattoo%2Fpiercing
Location: westbury%2C+ny

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