For the most part tongue rings come in one standard type, a straight barbell with a decoration on one end and a ball or half ball on the other. There’s definitely more to picking out a new tongue ring though, so here’s what you’ll need to know:
We’ll start with gauge, which is the girth or thickness of the piece. Most regular tongue piercings are performed in a 14 gauge, which means that the barbell portion is 1.6 millimeters in diameter. Some however, may choose to be pierced in a slightly larger 12 gauge, or may stretch their tongue piercing to accommodate even larger jewelry. For the purposes of fit, you’ll always want to know exactly what gauge your particular piercing is, as anything too large won’t fit and anything too small will be awkward and uncomfortable.
Next you’ll want to know what length you need. This again is subject to variation given the potential differences in individual anatomy, but for the most part you’ll find that the standard 5/8″ (16mm) length is most common. Length is measured as the distance from the base of one ball or ending to the other along the barbell.
Another thing you’ll need to think about is the size of the decoration. Many tongue rings are simply outfitted with two balls, one or both of them baring a logo, glitter, or a fun design. There are items with a wide variety of other decorative elements though, and these can vary in size greatly. Some common tips include dice, whistles, hoops, gems, hearts, 3D renderings of animals, letters, crosses, and vibrating capsules.
The last thing you’ll want to consider is the materials. Tongue rings can be made using acrylic, silicone, Austrian crystal, surgical steel, titanium, 14kt gold, bioplast, and a variety of other mediums. Just as with piercings of the skin, allergies, weight, and preferential factors should all be taken into account, along with considerations for proper oral health. If you know that you tend to play with your tongue rings a lot and regularly feel them making contact with your teeth, sticking with non-metallic materials is a good way to prevent any accidental tooth damage. Also remember to check the security if your body jewelry balls at regular intervals to keep them from becoming a choking hazzard.
For more about jewelry and sizing, check out our Jewelry Sizing Category, and always buy smart.