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When Does Biting Your Lip or Tongue Require Medical Attention?

Most people have bit their tongue or lip at some point. While painful, it’s usually not a cause for concern. However, there are times when a bitten tongue or lip requires medical attention.

So, what should I do if I bit my lip?

This article will guide you on how to handle light mouth injuries, including how to estimate the bitten tongue healing time and when it is time to seek professional help.

What Are Tongue and Lip Injuries?

Tongue and lip injuries happen frequently, often during eating, during physical activity, or as a result of sports injuries. The tongue, being one of the strongest muscles in the human body, is particularly susceptible to bites, especially during sleep. This can result in a tongue wound or bruised tongue.

Signs of tongue and lip injuries include:

  • Pain on the tongue or lip area.
  • Swelling or inflammation on the tongue or lip.
  • Visible cuts, scrapes or lacerations on the tongue or lip.
  • Bleeding from the tongue or lip.
  • Difficulty or discomfort while eating, talking, or moving the tongue or mouth.
  • A sense of taste may be compromised if the tongue is injured.
  • Bruising or discoloration on or around the tongue or lip.
  • Increased salivation or drooling due to difficulty swallowing.
  • In severe cases, difficulty breathing may occur if the tongue swells significantly.

How to Perform Initial Home Care for Tongue and Lip Injuries

1. Stop the Bleeding

The first step when you injure your mouth is to control the bleeding:

  • Wear latex gloves for hygiene purposes.
  • Get a clean piece of gauze or a clean cloth.
  • Apply firm pressure to the wound using the gauze or cloth until the bleeding stops.
  • If the bleeding is heavy, you can use a cold compress or a piece of ice wrapped in a cloth to help. The cold helps to constrict the blood vessels, which can slow down the blood flow and promote clotting.
  • Remember to replace your cold compress or ice as it warms to ensure it remains effective.

2. Clean the Wound

Cleanliness is crucial to prevent bacterial activity and potential infection.

  • Rinse your mouth with lukewarm water. This will help clean the wound and remove any dirt or food particles.
  • Avoid using any acidic or spicy foods or drinks, as these can irritate the wound and delay healing time.

3. Manage Pain and Swelling

After the wound has been cleaned, the next step is to manage pain and swelling.

  • Choosing soft foods can help reduce pain caused by chewing. Cold foods and beverages can have a soothing effect and offer some relief.
  • Over-the-counter pain relief medication can be used if required. However, it’s important not to exceed the recommended dosage.
  • If possible, avoid engaging in activities that could result in another injury to your mouth, such as athletic activities.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Heavy or Uncontrolled Bleeding

If your original bleeding does not decrease after 15 minutes of persistent, direct pressure, it’s considered uncontrollable bleeding. This is an indicator of a serious injury that requires emergency care.

Signs of Infection

Excessive pain, swollen glands, fever, pus-like discharge, or a white bump could all be symptoms of infection. If a lip bite results in any of these problems, “I bit my lip and now I have a white bump,” instantly consult with a health care provider.

Visible Deformity or Loose Teeth

A visible deformity in your tongue or lip or loose teeth resulting from the bite signals the need for immediate dental attention.

Difficulty in Breathing or Swallowing

Swelling in the tongue or throat could lead to difficulty breathing or swallowing, making it a health issue that may need quick medical intervention.

Infrequent Healing

If you find yourself thinking, ”I bit my tongue really bad, and it has not healed after two weeks,” it’s time to seek medical advice, as it might be a sign of an underlying medical condition.

In case of severe injuries that involve excess bleeding or visible deformity, stay calm and call the emergency services. Use a clean piece of gauze or cloth with pressure to control the bleeding and start heading towards the hospital.

How to Prevent Future Lip or Tongue Injuries

1. Use Mouth Guard for Athletic Activities

A reliable way to prevent physical mouth injuries is by using a mouth guard specifically designed to shield your teeth and tongue during athletic activities. Mouth guards are items of dental equipment that provide a covering over your teeth, acting as shock absorbents against powerful blows and minimizing the risk of chipped or broken teeth, nerve damage, and tongue and lip injuries.

2. Deal With Involuntary Biting During Sleep

You don’t have to be up and about to encounter lip or tongue injuries. Night time, for some people, is often a time of involuntary physical movements and body motions, which can result in accidental tongue biting. If you frequently find yourself waking from sleep with a fresh tongue wound, consider contacting a dental professional about a night guard.

3. Manage Frequent Mouth Injuries

If you have a history of mouth injuries that exceed normal frequency, this is a cause for concern. Frequent tongue injury or lips injuries warrant a visit to a dental professional. Dental devices such as tongue protectors or possibly a dental evaluation for misaligned teeth might be recommended treatment options.

4. Special Considerations for People With Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that results in disrupted sleep due to shallow breathing or breathing pauses. This condition has been associated with frequent tongue injuries during sleep. If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, it is crucial that you maintain regular appointments with your healthcare professional.

Don’t Let a Small Bite Become a Big Concern—Connect With Azure Dental

At Azure Dental, we understand that a small bite on your tongue or lip can turn into a big concern. Not only does it hinder your ability to chew and speak comfortably, but it can also have larger health implications if not treated.

Don’t wait for the painful habit of tongue biting to escalate into a larger issue. We offer preventative advice and assistance, thorough check-ups, and treatments appropriate for everyone, from children experiencing their first bite accident to seasoned athletes.

Connect with us now, and let’s keep your smile bright and beautiful.