Traumatic injuries, such as tongue bite and cut on lips, are usually the most common cause of tongue and lip discomfort. Often these happen classically due to accidental bites during rapid chewing or eating of too cold or hot foodstuff.
The tongue is frequently bitten accidentally but rather heals quickly. The traumatic injuries are very painful and discomforting as the tongue has plenty of nerve endings for pain, touch and is more sensitive than most other parts of the body. (1)
Shallow sores (ulcers) those are caused by injuries to lip and tongue heal quickly and usually do not persist for more than three weeks.
The squamous cells (cells forming the covering of the oral cavity) are highly regenerative and quickly recover the damage due to trauma to lip and tongue.
Signs and symptoms for lip and tongue trauma
Lip and tongue are the most common sites for injury in the oral cavity. These injuries are easy to identify. Following are the signs showing that your oral tissues may have traumatic injuries.
- Redding of the traumatized area.
- Pain in the damaged area.
- Sores and inflammation.
- Small or large amount of bleeding depending upon the degree of injury.
- Pustule formation is sometimes seen due to infection which is harmful to the tissue as the sepsis or infection can reach at various places through the blood supply of tongue or lips and spread the infection.
Depending on the type of trauma or infection it is recommended to visit a dentist or physician for the treatment. some cases can be dealt with easily at home whereas some are needed care or treatment from the doctor.
Causes for lip and tongue trauma
- Accidental bites. (2)
- Exposure to extremely cold or hot surfaces.
- Bacterial infection. (3)
- A sharp, broken tooth filling or tooth cusp can do considerable damage to the delicate soft tissues like lips and tongue.
- Injury during sports.
Injuries to your tongue or lips are easily visible and can be examined visually by your doctor. Some minor wounds are self-recovered without any medications such as sores (ulcers).
But if the outburst or spread of sores is more, then it is clinically diagnosed by histopathological techniques by the dentist.
Treatment plan is decided because there can be more complications in the sores, so there is need of biopsy and treatment plan decide by your dentist or physician.
Treatment and prognosis
Treatment includes observation of the wound and suggesting a topical application of medications. Following are the things a doctor does when you first go with an injury to your lip or tongue:
- When you get a cut or accidentally bite on the tongue or lip, your doctor will first thoroughly clean the wound with saline or a hydrogen peroxide rinse. Cleaning with saline removes bacteria as well as unwanted substances such as dirt that might have entered the wound during the injury.
- After cleaning the doctor will give you topical medications, so pain is relieved abruptly.
- A betadine solution is then applied to the area of trauma to disinfect it.
- Small wounds in the tongue usually heal without any treatment, but large severe cuts may require stitches.
Some home or basic line of treatment includes –
- Washing and cleansing of the wound with topical antiseptic lotion which will prevent growth or attack of bacteria in the tissue or site of the cut, wound.
- If all over the counter medications are not available, and then use of a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to cleanse the wound.
- If your lips are swollen then it is recommended as per home treatment to apply a cold press or hot bag to the affected area as it will reduce the swelling by many folds. It will provide a soothing effect and reduce the pain.
- Chew on a stick of celery as it holds analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Dab the damaged area of the lip or tongue with honey to retain moisture and accelerate the healing process.
- Munch on a few basil leaves as they have antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties.
Most of the lip or tongue injuries occur during sports or other physical activities. Usually, all these injuries can be prevented with the use of mouth guards and resins.
The mouth guards provide cushioning to a blow to the face, reducing the risk of broken teeth and injuries to your lips, tongue, face or jaw.
Mouth guards are formed to cover the upper teeth and are a great way to protect the soft tissues of your mouth like tongue, lips, and cheek. (4)
When to visit a doctor?
- If the trauma or cut on lips or tongue is significant with rapid blood loss. it is highly recommended to go to doctor as soon as possible if cut is broad or big enough then surgery may also be required first the surgeon cleanses the wound by hydrogen peroxide or saline to gain disinfection of the site, then stitch the site of cut, and it may take few days to recover from this standard procedure.
- If the sores or ulcers are more and widespread this can cause pain. Your dentist will give you medications after the biopsy if required are done.
- If there is a formation of pustules.
- If there are fever, inflammation, and pustules even after 3 to 4 days, it is highly recommended to visit a doctor and get a physical examination done.
Trauma or injury to the lip and the tongue area is a relevant cause of inflammation and swollen lips. A cut on lip usually heals quickly, but your lip may be sore during the time it heals.
Tongue and lips have a rich blood supply and thus can help in rapid recovery leaving small Patch or scar.
It is always advised to visit a dentist or physician when in doubt of sores or a pustule as this can easily be diagnosed and treated by the doctor thus avoiding a major problem or pain ahead.