Basic First Aid for Mouth Injuries

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Basic First Aid for Mouth Injuries

Mouth injuries can be painful and frightening, especially for young children. But knowing what to do and how to take the proper steps to promote healing can help you and your child stay calm. Below we explain some basic first aid techniques for common mouth injuries. 

Basic First Aid for Five Common Types of Mouth Injuries

1: Toothaches

If you’re suffering from a toothache, try rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater to find relief. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water, swish for several seconds, and spit. Flossing gently can also help remove any food particles that may be causing your pain. If the pain persists, try taking an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen as directed. 

Keep in mind that toothaches have several causes, including cavities and gum disease, so it’s important to visit your dentist to have your mouth examined. 

2: Knocked-Out Tooth

If a tooth gets knocked out of its socket, it’s an emergency. You must act quickly to increase the chances of saving the tooth. 

Pick up the tooth by the crown (the part that you see when you brush) and gently rinse it with water. Never touch the root, use soap, or scrub the tooth, because this can cause damage. 

The tooth must be kept moist at all times. If possible, place the tooth back into its socket. Gently bite down on some gauze to hold the tooth in place. You can also keep the tooth inside your cheek, or in a container filled with milk. 

See your dentist immediately. The chances of saving the tooth are highest within the first hour after the tooth was knocked out.  

3: Chipped or Broken Tooth

A chipped or broken tooth can lead to infections, so it’s important to see your dentist as quickly as possible. In the meantime, you can apply first aid by first rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater. Combine 1 teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water, then swish for a few seconds and spit. 

Apply a cold compress to your cheek to reduce swelling. If you’re able to locate the broken piece of the tooth, place it in a container of milk to keep it moist. 

4: Cuts and Lacerations

If you have a cut or laceration anywhere inside your mouth, rinse with warm saltwater and apply pressure to the bleeding area with a clean, damp cloth. To make a saltwater rinse, add 1 teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces of warm water. Swish for several seconds, then spit.

If the bleeding doesn’t stop after 15 minutes of applied pressure, seek medical attention. If the cut is severe or involves significant tissue damage, it may be an emergency requiring immediate medical attention. 

5: Burns

Burns from hot foods and drinks are a very common type of mouth injury. If you burn the inside of your mouth, rinse with cold water or milk to cool the affected area. Try taking some over-the-counter pain medication if the pain is intolerable. 

Avoid eating or drinking anything hot or spicy until the wound heals. You should also avoid smoking or using tobacco products, which can cause further irritation. If the burn is severe or causes blistering, seek medical attention. 

Emergency Dental Care in Prescott, Arizona

If you ever have a tooth knocked out or another mouth injury, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. The team at Prescott Dentistry is equipped to handle a wide range of dental emergencies. Contact us at 928-445-1660 to request an emergency appointment, and we’ll make room in our schedule. 


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (4/21/2023). Photo by Roger Brown on Pexels