Bitten tongue and lips as a dental emergency

The soft flesh of the lips and their open location make them susceptible to serious injury. Children play various sports that can cause such injuries and might need immediate treatment at an emergency center. A blow to the face can crush your lips against your teeth, causing damage to the face and lips. As it happens suddenly, your teeth can cut the inside of your mouth or your tongue. A fall or blow may cause you to bite your tongue. Any cut inside the mouth usually bleeds heavily because of the generous supply of blood in the area. Trauma to the lips, tongue and the inside of the mouth is quite common.

These injuries happen when you get into a fight or play contact sports. A fall or hit on the face can also cause this type of harm. The most important thing is to be calm and to analyze the nature of the wound and how worse it is. Try to visit a dentist as soon as possible. Apply ice to the bitten tongue or lip areas. To stop bleeding, apply firm (but gentle) pressure with sterile gauze or a clean cloth. We need to apply pressure to allow the blood to clot and stop bleeding. Make sure the pressure doesn’t hurt the injury or would. If the bleeding does not stop with pressure or continues after 15 minutes, contact your dentist or a physician to get it treated.

Bitten lips can occur also when you eat too quickly, sometimes harming the tongue or the inside of the cheeks. Small cuts on the tongue and lips heal itself without any special care. If you are not bleeding profusely, there is no need to worry about a bitten tongue or lip. Just make sure to keep from eating hot, spicy food, so you don’t end up irritating the area. Use warm salt to rinse the mouth until it heals. Also keep away from eating hard, crusty food like chips or anything fried since they can scrap against the area and cause more damage.

But some lip and tongue injuries are not so easy to understand and treat. We are talking about a big blow to your face or a hit on the face and any damage that can happen while playing contact sports. These are the ones that might scare you. If you cannot stop the bleeding by using simple household methods like using a cold compress or applying pressure and it has been going on for over 10 minutes. It’s time to visit an emergency dentist and get your bitten tongue or tip examined. As this area is very delicate soft tissue, it needs medical attention as soon as possible.


Bitten Tongue or Lip: Diagnosis

Your dentist or physician will have questions about what happened to cause your recent trauma and do a thorough physical exam of the area. If the lips are injured, he or she will check the injury around teeth and bone for damage. If the cut is too deep, you may have a chipped or cracked tooth as well.


How to Prevent Bitten Lip  

  • Many lip injuries, bitten lip or cheek injuries are usually caused by contact sports and active leisure. Take precautions to stay safe.
  • We recommend using mouth guards. It protects both the lips and teeth from being injured such as in the case of a swollen bitten lip. It works as a shield in front of the teeth and a soft biting for the back part.  You can have a mouth guard fitted to your shape of teeth and mouth by a dentist for maximum protection. The material used in mouth guards is very soft that doesn’t you’re your lips and tongue.
  • If you actively participate in heavy contact sports such as boxing or MMA, mouth guards cover both upper and lower teeth.


  • Bitten Lip Treatment
  • Clean the injured area with mildly warm water and a soft cloth.
  • Rinse with a mix of hydrogen peroxide and water solution or salt water.
  • Apply cold pack by covering it with crushed ice in a clean cloth if there is swelling on the bitten lip or a bruised bitten lip. It will reduce swelling and pain.
  • If the bitten lip sore is severe, it may require stitches by a surgeon. Your dentist can refer you to a specialist who handles mouth injuries.
  • As the mouth contains many bacteria, your dentist might prescribe some antibiotics


  • How to stop Tongue Bleeding
  • Tongue and Lip Bites rarely need sutures.
  • Even if they have a big gap, cuts on tongue usually heal itself with little care. If you can get the edges together keeping the tongue still, it doesn’t need stitches.
  • To stop the bleeding, try to press on the bleeding site with clean gauze. You can also use a clean cloth or other soft substance that will not hurt the wound. Most cuts stop bleeding in a few minutes
  • Give your child a Popsicle to suck on; it will help in stopping the bleeding also.
  • Due to the rich blood supply in the mouth, cuts of the tongue typically tend to ooze a little blood for some time and then it stops.
  • If the blood doesn’t stop and the bleeding is heavy, you can try using a moistened tea bag for 10 minutes. Tannic acid release from the tea bag helps in stopping the bleeding.


  • When should the patient visit the dentist? 
  • If the bleeding doesn’t stop after five to ten minutes of direct pressure. If the cloth becomes soaked and the bleeding doesn’t stop, do not lift the original cloth and add another towel on top of it. Remember, facial wounds often bleed heavily as compared to other body injuries. Under normal circumstances, the bleeding should stop in some time, If not this the time to get your child to see a doctor and get examined for this injury.

Some alarming signs that also need emergency dental care and a thorough mouth check-up:

  • Ragged or have separated edges
  • Caused by an animal or human bite
  • Deep or longer than 1/2 inch
  • Large cuts on the face
  • Caused by a puncture wound or rusty object
  • Cut filled with dirt or other material
  • Excessively painful or if you suspect a deep cut
  • Showing signs of infection, such as increased warmth, redness, swelling, or drainage