Mouth Laceration

ExitCare ImageA mouth laceration is a cut inside the mouth.

TREATMENT

Because of all the bacteria in the mouth, lacerations are usually not stitched (sutured) unless the wound is gaping open. Sometimes, a couple sutures may be placed just to hold the edges of the wound together and to speed healing. Over the next 1 to 2 days, you will see that the wound edges appear gray in color. The edges may appear ragged and slightly spread apart. Because of all the normal bacteria in the mouth, these wounds are contaminated, but this is not an infection that needs antibiotics. Most wounds heal with no problems despite their appearance.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Rinse your mouth with a warm, saltwater wash 4 to 6 times per day, or as your caregiver instructs.

  • Continue oral hygiene and gentle tooth brushing as normal, if possible.

  • Do not eat or drink hot food or beverages while your mouth is still numb.

  • Eat a bland diet to avoid irritation from acidic foods.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.

  • Follow up with your caregiver as instructed. You may need to see your caregiver for a wound check in 48 to 72 hours to make sure your wound is healing.

  • If your laceration was sutured, do not play with the sutures or knots with your tongue. If you do this, they will gradually loosen and may become untied.

You may need a tetanus shot if:

  • You cannot remember when you had your last tetanus shot.

  • You have never had a tetanus shot.

If you get a tetanus shot, your arm may swell, get red, and feel warm to the touch. This is common and not a problem. If you need a tetanus shot and you choose not to have one, there is a rare chance of getting tetanus. Sickness from tetanus can be serious.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You develop swelling or increasing pain in the wound or in other parts of your face.

  • You have a fever.

  • You develop swollen, tender glands in the throat.

  • You notice the wound edges do not stay together after your sutures have been removed.

  • You see pus coming from the wound. Some drainage in the mouth is normal.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.