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We’ve all been there. You’re having a meal or a snack, chewing on something while having a conversation with a friend or loved one when suddenly you find that you’ve bitten your cheek or lip! There’s nothing quite like that initial bloom of pain. Maybe it’s not quite as bad as a stubbed toe or stepping on a Lego in the middle of the night, but it’s definitely up there.
Fortunately, while your mouth may be painful for a few days, it usually won’t bleed much, and the saliva in your mouth actually helps most such injuries to heal pretty quickly. There are also a few things that you can do to help reduce discomfort and speed the healing process along. In certain cases, you might require medical attention. So here are a few tips from your friendly Overland Park dentist on what to do in the event that you bite your lip, cheek, or tongue:
First things first: Seek medical help if the wound is big enough that food particles or other debris can get stuck in it, if bleeding doesn’t stop after you’ve applied ice or light pressure, and if you have broken or loose teeth or signs of swelling or infection in the days following the initial injury. If you aren’t facing any of that, then you’ll simply want to take steps to keep yourself comfortable and reduce the risk of infection until the body can heal itself.
For injuries to your cheek, lips, or tongue that aren’t so serious, the first thing to do is to wash your hands. Always wash your hands thoroughly before touching a wound or performing first aid of any kind. Next, apply a little pressure to the area with ice or a cold compress. This can help stop bleeding and reduce pain and swelling.
To help with pain and prevent infection, you can rinse your mouth with mouthwash. The same antibacterial qualities that help mouthwash clean your teeth and gums can also help to prevent infection in the event of an injury. Listerine is particularly good at helping small mouth wounds and sores to heal. You can also rinse with salt water. Combine one cup of warm water with one teaspoon of salt and swish the concoction around in your mouth for 15 or 20 seconds. Repeat as needed.
If the pain is still bothering you, you can sometimes take an over-the-counter pain reliever, if it’s been okayed by your doctor. But perhaps the most important thing to do is to contact your dentist or physician right away if the wound gets infected or becomes more serious.
Any time you have an injury in your mouth, it’s probably a good idea to see your Overland Park dentist, or at least give us a call at (913) 338-3384 to let us know what’s up. While small bites and other injuries may not be anything serious, Watts Family Dental is concerned with your total oral health, and we always want to hear about anything that may be bothering you.