Snake Eyes Piercing or Horizontal Tongue Piercing

Snake Eyes Piercing is also called Horizontal Tongue Piercing. It is one of the most unique and trendy forms of body modification.

It involves placing a single, straight barbell horizontally through the tongue’s tip, with each end of the barbell visible on either side of the tongue. This piercing resembles the eyes of a snake, hence the name. It’s different from a traditional tongue piercing, which is vertical and goes through the centre of the tongue.

Keep reading to get a comprehensive guide before getting your ‘snake eyes’ piercing. We will talk about the procedure, healing, aftercare, and other related things.

How Painful Is Snake Eyes Piercing?

Snake eyes piercing is generally considered to be more painful than some other piercings due to the sensitive nature of the tongue.

Snake Eyes Piercing involves piercing a relatively thick part of the tongue, and the placement of horizontally means it affects more tissue than a standard vertical tongue piercing.

This can result in a higher level of pain during the procedure. Additionally, the tongue’s rich nerve supply and constant use (for speaking, eating, etc.) can contribute to a prolonged sensation of discomfort or pain during the healing process.

Comparatively, a standard tongue piercing might be less painful because it typically goes through a thinner layer of tissue and is a straightforward procedure.

However, pain perception is highly subjective, and individual tolerance levels will vary. It’s also important to consider not just the pain during the actual piercing but the discomfort that may occur during the healing process.

How Does Horizontal Tongue Piercing Work?

Here is how Horizontal Tongue Piercing works.

  • Consultation and Planning: The piercer first consults with you, discussing the risks, aftercare, and suitability of the piercing. They also determine the exact placement on the tongue.
  • Preparation: Then, your mouth and the tongue area are thoroughly cleaned with an antiseptic mouthwash. The piercer then marks the entry and exit points on the tongue’s tip.
  • Clamping and Piercing: The tongue is clamped to hold it steady and reduce movement. A hollow needle is then used to create the piercing, passing horizontally through the tip of the tongue. This part can be quite challenging, as the tongue is a highly sensitive and muscular organ.
  • Inserting the Jewelry: After the needle, the jewelry, typically a straight barbell, is inserted. This step must be done quickly to reduce the duration of discomfort and potential swelling.

Please note that the process can be quite painful due to the tongue’s sensitivity and the nature of the horizontal piercing. After piercing, you may experience significant swelling and some bleeding, which can be uncomfortable.

Also, the procedure can be anxiety-inducing, and some people may have a strong gag reflex that can be triggered during the piercing.

Horizontal Surface Tongue Piercing | Vertical Tongue Piercing Pictures
Horizontal Surface Tongue Piercing | Vertical Tongue Piercing

Healing And Aftercare of Snake Eyes Piercing

The initial healing phase for a Snake Eyes Piercing typically takes about 4 to 8 weeks, but complete healing can take several months. Swelling is common immediately after the procedure and can last for several days. To minimize swelling, it’s advised to use ice or cold compresses and to keep the head elevated, especially during sleep.

Aftercare Instructions

  • Oral Hygiene: Maintain excellent oral hygiene to prevent infection. This includes regular brushing (with a soft-bristled toothbrush) and using an alcohol-free, antimicrobial mouthwash after every meal and before bed.
  • Eating Habits: Initially, it’s best to consume soft, non-irritating foods. Avoid spicy, salty, or acidic foods that can irritate the piercing. Also, chew slowly to prevent accidentally biting on the jewelry.
  • Avoid Certain Activities: Smoking, alcohol consumption, and kissing should be avoided during the initial healing phase as they can introduce bacteria to the piercing and delay healing.
  • Handling the Piercing: Avoid playing with or rotating the jewelry, as this can cause irritation and prolong healing. Only touch the piercing with clean hands when necessary.
  • Ice Chips or Cold Drinks: Sucking on ice chips or drinking cold beverages can help reduce swelling and provide relief from discomfort, especially in the first few days after the piercing.

Is It A Bad Idea to Get Snake Eyes Piercing?

Getting a Snake Eyes Piercing can be a bad idea due to several health risks. Many piercers even reject to work on a snake eyes piercing.

There’s a high risk of dental damage. The barbell at the tongue’s tip often hits against the teeth, which can lead to chipping or cracking. This constant contact might also wear down tooth enamel over time.

Additionally, the piercing can cause gum erosion as it rubs against the gums, potentially leading to painful gum recession and long-term dental issues.

The risk of infection is another concern. The mouth is full of bacteria, making oral piercings like this more prone to infections. An infected tongue piercing can lead to severe swelling, pain, and in some cases, breathing difficulties.

Horizontal Snake Eyes Tongue Piercing 
Horizontal Snake Eyes Tongue Piercing 

Healing is also more challenging because the tongue is constantly moving and exposed to food and drink, making proper aftercare difficult and prolonging the healing process.

Furthermore, Snake Eyes Piercing can interfere with speech and eating. The placement of the jewelry can make it hard to speak clearly and chew food, especially soon after the piercing.

Given these risks, many professional piercers and dental experts advise against this type of piercing. It’s important for anyone considering it to understand these potential complications.

Is There Any Alternative to Snake Eyes Piercing?

Yes, if you’re considering an alternative to Snake Eyes Piercing, several other types of tongue piercings and oral piercings are generally considered safer and come with fewer risks:

  • Standard Tongue Piercing: This is the most common type of tongue piercing. It involves a single piercing through the middle of the tongue, vertically. It’s generally safer than the Snake Eyes Piercing, as it doesn’t pose the same risks to teeth and gums.
  • Venom Piercing: Venom Piercings involve two separate piercings placed symmetrically on each side of the tongue, mimicking the fang marks of a snake. They are less likely to cause dental or gum damage compared to Snake eye piercings.
  • Frenulum Piercing (Tongue Web Piercing): This is a piercing through the frenulum, the thin strip of tissue under the tongue. It’s less visible but can be a unique choice for those seeking an oral piercing.
  • Labret Piercing: Located just below the lower lip, a labret piercing doesn’t involve the tongue but is a popular oral piercing option. It has a lower risk of causing dental or gum damage compared to tongue piercings.
  • Monroe or Madonna Piercing: These piercings are placed on the upper lip, off to one side, mimicking a beauty mark. They offer a distinctive look without the risks associated with tongue piercings.
Horizontal Tongue Piercing pictures

Jewelry Suggestion for Snake Eyes Piercing’

For Snake Eyes Piercings, the options for jewelry types are indeed limited, primarily due to the unique placement and nature of the piercing.

Jewelry Options

Straight Barbells: The most common and suitable jewelry for Snake Eyes Piercing is a small, straight barbell. The length of the barbell typically ranges from 14mm to 16mm, but this can vary depending on the individual’s tongue size and the swelling during the initial piercing.

Ball Ends: The barbell for a Snake Eyes Piercing usually has small balls at each end to secure the jewelry in place. These balls sit on either side of the tongue. They can be plain or come in various designs and colors for a personalized look. Some people choose acrylic ball ends for a lighter feel, but metal ends are generally more durable.

Material Suggestion

The best materials for any oral piercing, including Snake Eyes, are biocompatible metals to minimize the risk of allergic reactions and infections. Popular choices include surgical stainless steel, titanium, and sometimes gold. It’s important to avoid nickel or low-quality metals that can cause irritation or allergic reactions.


Gauge Size: The gauge size refers to the thickness of the jewelry. For Snake Eyes Piercings, the common gauge sizes are 14G (gauge) and 16G. 14G is slightly thicker and might be chosen for its sturdiness, but some people prefer 16G as it’s thinner and can be less invasive.

The choice between these sizes often depends on individual preference and the advice of the professional piercer.

Custom Sizing: Sometimes, standard sizes might not be a perfect fit for everyone. In such cases, custom-sized barbells are an option. This ensures the jewelry is comfortable and minimizes potential complications. A professional piercer can help determine the best size for your anatomy and piercing.

How Much Does It Cost to Get Snake Eyes Piercing

On average, you can expect the cost to range from approximately $40 to $100 or more.

More experienced and reputable piercers often charge more for their services. Their expertise can be especially important for a complex piercing like the Snake Eyes. The cost of living in the area where the piercing studio is located can significantly impact the price.

For example, piercing studios in major cities like New York or Los Angeles might charge more than those in smaller towns or rural areas.

The cost often includes the price of the initial jewelry. Higher quality or specialized jewelry materials, like titanium or gold, may increase the total cost.

The overall environment and the quality of the studio also play a part in the pricing. Studios that offer a more upscale experience or additional services might charge more.

Sometimes, the cost may also include aftercare products provided by the studio.

Unique Tongue Rings or Plastic tongue rings
Glow in the dark tongue rings

Parting Words

Thanks for being with us. The unique horizontal tongue piercing can make you look stand out anytime but there are some risks included.

For this, it’s highly recommended to consult an expert before you get pierced. Get your health checked and make sure everything is set for such a change in your body. It’s important to weigh the aesthetic appeal against the health risks and to consult with experienced piercers for a safe piercing experience.

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