What is the middle tongue piercing called?

The middle tongue piercing, also known as the tongue web piercing, is a type of oral piercing that passes through the thin bit of skin connecting the tongue to the floor of the mouth. This area is known as the tongue web, lingual frenum, or frenulum underneath the tongue. The middle tongue piercing is a surface piercing, meaning that the top ball or gem of the jewelry is visible on top of the tongue while the bottom part sits under the tongue webbed area.

Names for the Middle Tongue Piercing

This type of tongue piercing may also be referred to by a few other common names:

  • Tongue web piercing
  • Under tongue piercing
  • Lower tongue piercing
  • Sublingual piercing
  • Frenulum piercing

However, tongue web piercing is the most widely used and recognized term for this piercing. The name comes from the thin fold of skin between the underside of the tongue and floor of the mouth that it passes through.

Differences From Other Tongue Piercings

The tongue web piercing should not be confused with other common types of tongue piercings:

  • Standard tongue piercing – A straight barbell that passes completely through the center of the tongue from top to bottom.
  • Venom piercings – One piercing on each side of the tongue, passing from top to bottom through the tongue edges.
  • Horizontal tongue piercing – A barbell that passes horizontally through the tip of the tongue.

The main difference is that the middle tongue piercing does not go fully through the tongue itself. Instead, it passes through the frenulum tissue under the tongue. It sits more externally than the standard tongue piercing.

Procedure for Middle Tongue Piercings

Getting a tongue web piercing involves these steps:

  1. The piercer will examine the area under the tongue to determine the ideal placement and check for any issues that could interfere with healing or piercing viability.
  2. They will mark the precise entry and exit points for the needle with a pen.
  3. The tongue is held out using forceps or clamps to make the frenulum skin taut and accessible.
  4. The skin is pierced through quickly with a piercing needle to create the fistula (hole). This is the shortest part of the process.
  5. Jewelry is inserted immediately into the fresh piercing as the needle is removed.
  6. The piercing is checked for correct positioning and the jewelry is secured in place.
  7. Aftercare instructions are provided for cleaning and healing.

As with any piercing, it should be done by a qualified, licensed professional using sterile needles and jewelry. The tongue web is an extremely vascular region, so there can be moderate bleeding during the piercing. The process is relatively quick though, taking only a few minutes from setup to completion.

Healing and Aftercare

Middle tongue piercings typically heal within 6 to 8 weeks with proper aftercare. Here are some tips for healing:

  • Rinse mouth frequently with an antibacterial mouthwash to keep the area clean.
  • Gently brush the jewelry to remove any plaque buildup.
  • Avoid spicy, acidic or hard foods that could irritate it.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medication as needed to manage pain and swelling.
  • Don’t play with or move the jewelry around unnecessarily.
  • Watch for signs of infection like pus, fever, foul odor or redness.

Most swelling and pain subsides within a week. Initial jewelry may need to be replaced with a slightly shorter bar once healed to accommodate for swelling. Proper cleaning and not touching the piercing can prevent infection and optimize healing time.

Jewelry Options

The initial middle tongue jewelry inserted is always a straight barbell specifically measured for tongue thickness and frenulum length. Once healed, other options can include:

  • Shorter barbells
  • Small captive bead rings
  • Circular barbells
  • Curved barbells
  • Micro jewelry

The gauge and diameter of the jewelry depends on individual anatomy and personal preference. Common gauges are 16g or 14g. Materials can include surgical steel, titanium, niobium, gold or platinum.


On average, a tongue web piercing costs between $50 – $100 including the price of jewelry. Factors affecting the price include:

  • Geographic location
  • Studio reputation and expertise
  • Jewelry type and materials
  • Local licensing requirements

Larger cities with more experienced piercers will be on the higher end. The jewelry itself can range from $20 for basic steel barbells up to $50+ for specialized materials or custom work. Overall, expect to pay around $80 for a reputable tongue web piercing with basic titanium jewelry.

Pain Level

Pain from a tongue web piercing is usually moderate but very brief. On a standard pain scale of 1-10:

  • Needle piercing pain: 5/10
  • Duration of piercing procedure pain: Less than 30 seconds
  • Healing and recovery pain: 3/10

The tongue is very vascular and full of sensitive nerve endings. The initial poke of the needle is sharp and intense due to dense innervation, but is over quickly. Healing discomfort is mild and managed with OTC pain relievers as needed. It is less painful than a standard tongue piercing since no muscles are penetrated.

Risks and Complications

When properly performed, tongue web piercings have low risks. However, as with any oral piercing, possible issues include:

  • Infection – Poor hygiene can allow bacteria into the new piercing channel.
  • Nerve damage – The lingual nerve runs through the tongue and can potentially be affected.
  • Tooth damage – Jewelry rubbing against teeth can cause chipping or cracks.
  • Tongue swelling – Temporary swelling for several days is expected, but severe swelling can be problematic.
  • Blood loss – A torn blood vessel under the tongue can lead to blood in the mouth.
  • Rejection – In rare cases, the body may reject the piercing.

Proper piercing technique by an expert, quality jewelry, and excellent aftercare helps minimize risks. Seek prompt medical help if any issues persist or get worse during the healing process. Overall, tongue web piercings have a good prognosis when done correctly.

Benefits and Drawbacks

Here are some of the notable pros and cons of getting a tongue web piercing:


  • Unique look and self-expression
  • Enhanced sensation and stimulation
  • Fun oral jewelry option
  • Less conspicuous and invasive than some other tongue piercings
  • Faster and easier healing than tongue or lip piercings


  • Risk of infection, nerve damage or other complications
  • Can damage teeth and gums
  • May make speaking, eating and swallowing uncomfortable initially
  • Harder to hide than some discreet piercings
  • Labret studs may be prone to coming undone

Weighing the aesthetics and sexual benefits versus the risks and downsides can help decide if this is the right piercing for an individual or not. For many people though, the perks outweigh the potential problems.

Popularity and Demographics

Tongue web piercings have gained popularity in recent decades as oral piercings have become more mainstream. Based on piercer surveys and industry data, key facts include:

  • Around 15-20% of those with any tongue piercing choose the tongue web location.
  • It gained notice in the 1990’s along with other alternative piercings.
  • Slightly more popular with women than men.
  • Most common among 18-30 year olds.
  • Seen as an edgier piercing compared to lip or nostril piercings.
  • Less popularity and acceptance in more conservative regions.

Although still edgy, tongue web piercings are becoming more visible and widespread, especially among younger generations expressing their creativity and sexuality through body modification.


The tongue web or middle tongue piercing is a unique and trendy way to customize the mouth. For suitable candidates willing to proper care for the healing process, it can be a stimulating addition. However, the risks of tooth damage, infection and nerve issues should also be considered before getting pierced. With excellent piercing technique and aftercare though, most are able to heal a frenulum piercing with satisfying results. Anyone considering a tongue web piercing would be wise to thoroughly research what to expect and find the most qualified professional piercer in their region. It remains an intriguing and artistic piercing option for the adventurous.

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