Dental Emergencies Part 4: Lip and Tongue Wounds

This is part 4 in a 4-part series during National Children’s Dental Health Month. Check back each Monday in February for more information on what to do with toothaches and infectionsbroken teeth, and knocked out & missing teeth.

The following instructions are to serve as a planning tool – it is still very important to call your dentist immediately for definitive instructions on how to handle a dental emergency. If the situation is life-threatening, call 911 or visit the ER first!

Part 4: Lip and Tongue Wounds

The human face is an extremely delicate body part. Just think about all of the sensitive nerve endings and tiny blood vessels inside around your mouth. No wonder it hurts and bleeds a lot when cut or damaged.

Not only can blood scare children (and lots of adults) it can cover up more serious injuries. Swelling can set in very quickly and make lips, tongues, and gums look and feel disfigured. Don’t rely on just a visual inspection of the wound.

Clean the area gently with a clean cloth and apply cold compresses to reduce any swelling. If the bleeding can’t be controlled after applying firm but gentle pressure to the area, go to the emergency room or an urgent care center. KidMed is a great after hours urgent care center for kids in Glen Allen and Midlothian.

Call your pediatric dentist to evaluate the lip/tongue, and to confirm that your child’s teeth were not affected by the trauma. Sometimes this just involves a visual inspection. In more serious cases, we may need to x-ray the child’s mouth to look for hidden damage.

Like you, we hate to see our children in pain and scared. Staying calm can help your child stay calm. Usually, the sooner you can get treatment, the better.

If your child does hurt himself or herself, we are ready to help. We can usually fit in emergency cases during office hours and one of our dentists is always on call for after-hours emergencies.

(CC Photo Credit: pewari on Flickr)

Elizabeth Cook Miller, D.D.S., M.S. is a pediatric dentist at Atkins, Maestrello, Miller & Associates Pediatric Dentistry in Richmond, VA. She is a new mother, active runner and her favorite movie is "Finding Nemo".

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