Traumatic injuries to the mouth and teeth of young Australians is a common occurrence, and it is helpful to know how to manage an injury of this nature if you are first on the scene. Sometimes the lips, cheeks or tongue bear the brunt of the injury. These tissues have a good blood supply and can bleed profusely, which can be distressing. It’s helpful to know what to do and to have a management plan in place.
First Aid For Lacerated Lips, Cheeks Or Tongue
First and foremost, remain calm and encourage the injured to do the same. Blood, especially copious quantities of one’s own, can be distressing, and it is much easier to provide first aid to a calm patient. Check for other injuries that might not be so obvious. It is important to manage concussion as a priority but do also check the teeth.
Use clean gauze or a cloth to apply pressure to the wound; this can be difficult especially on the tongue, but it is the application of firm pressure that will cause the bleeding to slow and then stop. Check the depth of the laceration- some will need stitches or they will not heal properly. If the injury is deep, or if you are not sure, go to the emergency department or a dentist for it to be assessed.
Regardless of the apparent depth of the injury, if the bleeding doesn’t stop within 15 minutes, or if the blood is plentiful and flowing freely, take the child to the emergency department or emergency dentist immediately or call an ambulance for assistance.
Cold compresses or ice packs can offer relief and will help to minimise the swelling.
It is important to know that many dental injuries can be prevented or minimised by wearing a well-fitted sports mouthguard.