ok, being a noob to piercings i have a few more questions so im sorry if they are relatively dumb ones. 1) when you wanna step up from the gauge you have to a bigger one what do you do? do you just stick the bigger gauge in your tongue or do you need to have a piercer do it? 2) what about cleaning the barbell? i had a little bit of white shit (plaque?) on the bottom ball of my piercing and just unscrewed the ball and scraped it off with my finger nail... is this a normal occourance or should i brush the bottom ball in the AM when i brush my teeth? is there an easier way of getting that stuff off? 3) is there a typical length of barbell piercers use when you have your tongue pierced? mine seems very long (first time in my life i think ive ever been able to say that! lol) and it now rubs against the bottom inside gums in my mouth and they hurt... just trying to get an idea of what length i can jump down to since i have easily 1/4" to possibly 1/2" length too much. i work in the early mornings so my piercer doesnt open till after im asleep and usually is closed before i get up.. so asking them questions is kinda hard and id like to know what direction i can be going in before the weekend which is the only time i can get to talk to them. thanks for all the help everyone here has provided, without reading you guys posts in the past i probably wouldnt have gotten this far and would still be "considering" getting my tongue pierced.