If you have ever accidentally chomped down on your tongue, you know how incredibly painful it can be! But while a nip on your tongue while chewing is painful but not serious, there are times when a tongue bite can be very serious. Given that your tongue is a pivotal muscle for talking, chewing, and swallowing it can be a great inconvenience to have an injured tongue. Today we’ll discuss the best ways to treat a tongue bite and how to know when you should seek professional medical assistance for a tongue bite.
Typically biting your tongue while chewing is rarely serious. It’s more concerning when a tongue bite is the result of a car accident, sports injury, or seizure when much larger forces are at play. Additionally, tongues have a lot of muscle units to help control many specialized ways of moving. As a result, tongues often bleed profusely when injured, which may make you think an injury is more serious than reality.
Examine the Injury
- Wash your hands to prevent spreading germs to the wound.
- Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to clean the wound and clear away blood.
- Carefully examine the wound, looking at the edges.
- If necessary, you can apply pressure with a clean gauze to staunch the bleeding, or a cold, gauze-wrapped ice pack to reduce swelling and pain.
When you are looking at the wound, you should keep an eye out for very jagged edges, wounds which don’t close when the tongue is at rest. Wounds that are very large and don’t close when your tongue is at rest are more serious and you should call your doctor or dentist for medical advice.
When to Seek Medical Assistance
- If the wound is very large, or you appear to have deformed your tongue
- If pain is extreme and doesn’t become manageable 30-45 minutes after taking an over-the-counter pain reliever
- If you spike a fever or notice other signs of infection such as excessive swelling or pus
- If you are unable to eat at all
- If you cannot close your mouth
If in doubt, it’s always better to call and speak with a doctor if you are concerned that your injury is serious.
How to Treat a Minor Tongue Bite At Home
If you don’t think your tongue bite is serious, time is the best healer.
Make sure to chew softly to avoid re-injuring the bite. It’s best if you can stick with soft foods with no hard edges that may poke or aggravate the wound.
Additionally, you should rinse your mouth with warm salt water after every meal, in the morning, and at night. You can make a simple saltwater solution by dissolving 1 tsp of salt in 1 cup of warm water. Stir until the salt is no longer visible. Take small mouthfuls of the salt water, swish gently around your mouth, and spit the water in the sink afterwards.
Treat the Pain
Take over-the-counter pain medication or anti-inflammatories to manage your pain. Additionally, you can suck on an ice cube or popsicle daily to help reduce the swelling. However, never give a child an ice cube or popsicle unattended as it could be a choking risk.
Observe for Changes
If the pain gets worse, of other symptoms suddenly seem to be getting worse, call your doctor.
Generally, a tongue bite will heal in 4-10 days, depending on the severity. We’ve so sorry if you’re currently experiencing the pain of a tongue bite! If you have any questions or concerns feel free to call our office at 719-633-8766 for advice. West One Family Dental is an excellent Colorado Springs Dental Office and we love to help!