Change the tongue ring in a new tongue piercing after the swelling has gone down and does not return, according to About.com. This normally takes about four weeks.
A longer barbell is specifically inserted at the time the piercing is done to allow the tongue to swell during the healing process without ripping or tearing, explains About.com. Once the four weeks has passed, insert a shorter barbell instead to minimize the chances of accidentally biting on the jewelry and breaking a tooth. To avoid accidentally swallowing a tongue ring, tighten the barbell ends daily to make it less likely that they come apart