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Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Mouth and Dental Injuries
injuries are common, especially in children, and may involve the teeth, jaw,
lips, tongue, inner cheeks, gums, roof of the mouth (hard or soft palates),
tonsils. Sometimes mouth injuries look worse than they
are. Even a small cut or puncture inside the mouth may bleed a lot because
there are many blood vessels in the head and neck area. Home treatment of minor
mouth injuries can help stop bleeding, reduce pain, help healing, and prevent
Teeth may be injured during a fall or a sport
activity. A tooth may be knocked out (avulsed). You may be able to replace a
permanent tooth in its socket (reimplant) if it has been knocked out or torn
away from the socket. Immediate
first aid and dental care are needed when a permanent
tooth has been knocked out.
An injury could
chip, or break a tooth, or make a tooth
change color. A tooth also may be
loose or moved in position (dental luxation) or
jammed into the gum (intruded).
dental injuries may be caused by
grinding your teeth, especially at night. Your teeth
may hurt, chip, or become loose. Biting surfaces may become flat and worn down.
A broken or loose dental appliance or an orthodontic
wire or bracket may poke or rub the inside of your mouth and make your mouth
An injury to your mouth or lips may cause a large, loose flap
of tissue or a gaping wound that may
need stitches. A smaller wound on the lip may be
stitched for cosmetic reasons. If an object, such as a piece of broken tooth or
an orthodontic wire, gets stuck in a wound, you may need to have it removed by
a doctor. You can also have problems from a piercing in the mouth.
The piece of skin between your lips and gums
or under your tongue (frenulum) may tear or rip. Usually this type of injury
will heal without stitches. It is generally not a concern unless the tear was
caused by physical or sexual
An injury to the roof of your
mouth, the back of your throat, or a tonsil can injure deeper tissues in your
head or neck. These injuries can happen when a child falls with a pointed
object, such as a pencil or Popsicle stick, in his or her mouth.
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see
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If you need to see a doctor for your injury, call to arrange for your care and ask what steps to take in the meantime.
To reduce pain and promote healing
Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and
forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two
medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
To protect a slightly loose tooth:
Teeth that are slightly loose but still in their normal position should tighten
up in 1 to 2 weeks.
To remove objects or food stuck between teeth
To remove a very loose baby tooth in a child
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home
Many mouth and dental injuries can be
prevented by taking the following steps.
More steps to prevent mouth and dental injuries in
young children include the following:
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your
doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being ready to answer
the following questions:
July 20, 2012
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
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