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A cut or bitten tongue, lip, or cheek can be frightening, but mouth injuries are fairly common due to this area’s thin, soft skin. Understanding how to treat wounds to your mouth will alleviate your discomfort, reduce the chance of infection, and encourage the wound to properly heal.
What to know
If you cut or bite your tongue, cheek, or lip, rinse the area gently with water. Avoid scrubbing the wound, as this can cause pain and irritation. Instead, let cool water run over it to remove any germs and dirt particles.
Wash your hands and use a clean piece of gauze or cloth to apply gentle pressure to stop the bleeding. Once the bleeding has stopped, grab a cold compress and hold it to the injury site to reduce swelling and alleviate pain.
If the cut or bite is on the outer lip or cheek, apply antibiotic ointment to reduce the chance of infection. To encourage the healing process, rinse the wound daily with warm saltwater. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water.
When to seek care
While a cut or bitten tongue, lip, or cheek is a scary experience, most injuries don’t require immediate dental care. If you can’t control the bleeding with firm pressure, the cut is a puncture or gaping wound, or if you exhibit signs of an infection (like tender swelling, redness around the cut or bite, and pus), contact us immediately.
Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek
If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, please call 911 or go to the ER immediately.
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"Our team will assess your condition and provide recommendations. Call 911 or go to the ER immediately if loss of consciousness, uncontrollable bleeding or swelling impedes breathing.”
Dr. Phil, DDS, MS, MAGD, FAIID
Family, Cosmetic, and Implant Dentist