Gum cuts and gum injuries can be caused by sharp foods, toothbrush bristles, foreign objects, and more. Our Edmonton dentists explain how bleeding gum cuts or injuries can be treated and when to see a dentist for this dental emergency.
Our gums are delicate soft tissues and can easily be cut or injured. They also bleed easily, so even the smallest abrasion can cause you to bleed. When this blood combines with saliva, it can seem like a lot, but is likely not as much as you perceive. In this post, we'll cover how gum cuts or injuries can be treated and when we recommend seeing a dentist.
What causes a gum cut?
Gum injuries can happen due to a variety of causes - whether you've nicked them with a toothpick, bitten down on a sharp potato chip, scratched them with your toothbrush's bristles, acquired an injury while playing sports or something else, these are all common culprits. That said, many cuts on gums heal on their own. However, some may need a dentist's assessment or be severe enough to become a dental emergency.
What should I do if I injure my gums?
Gum cuts and injuries can be unpredictable, and treatment may be required right away to prevent oral infection, problems with teeth, or other complications such as an abscess around a tooth root. If you've hurt your gums, here are a few things you should do right away to help prevent more serious issues.
Rinse Your Mouth Right Away
If you have a cut, injury or bruise on your gum, rinse your mouth out immediately to help prevent bacteria from inside the mouth from infecting the abrasion. Dissolve a spoonful of salt in a glass of water, and thoroughly rinse your mouth. While this will sting, it will reduce the chances of an infection. Rinse numerous times to see if any bleeding stops.
Apply Pressure to the Wound
Because our gums are soft tissue and will bleed a lot when injured, be sure to apply pressure to help staunch blood flow if it does not slow down once you rinse out your mouth. Fold clean gauze into a square and place the gauze between the affected gum and the side of your mouth or your tongue. If you can get enough pressure, wash your hands and hold the gauze tightly against the wound using a finger.
Ice the Area
During this stage, pain and swelling are likely setting in, so place an ice pack on the affected area. You may need to do this on the outside of your mouth, as close to the injury as possible. Use a cloth in between the ice and your skin.
See Your Dentist
Contact our Edmonton office to let our team know you have a dental emergency, even if bleeding has stopped and you aren't experiencing significant gum pain. Because gum cuts and injuries can easily become infected, you may require oral antibiotics.
How is a gum injury treated?
Your dentist may recommend a procedure to restore the health and function of your mouth. How long cut gums take to heal depends on the individual, the type of injury or trauma and its severity.
In most cases that require treatment, the dentist will clean the wound to remove any debris. They may also provide a prescription for antibiotics to prevent infections or sedatives to help with the pain. Some treatments may also include stitches.
Depending on your circumstances, your dentist may ask you to attend a follow-up appointment to check that there are no further problems, and that treatment has been effective. Otherwise, your primary dentist will continue to monitor your oral health as usual during your regularly scheduled dental checkups.
How can I prevent gum cuts and injuries?
Accidents can happen - you bite down on a nut, chip, pretzel, cracker or other hard food and it scrapes or cuts your gum. Or, perhaps you have an object such as a toothpick or pen in your mouth, it slips and suddenly you have a wound. Don't worry - we're not asking you to give up your favourite snack to prevent cuts from happening, but you may want to keep the sharp non-food items out of your mouth.
Do you have an athlete in the family, or do you play sports yourself? Especially if it's a contact sport, a mouth guard is a great way to help prevent oral injuries. They are available buy ready-made or can be custom fit with your dentist's help. Not only will this save you or your athlete family member from potential injuries, they can also prevent broken teeth.
Your gums are an essential part of your mouth. Similar to any other part of your body, they can get injured. We recommend seeing your dentist for an assessment so they can examine your mouth and make any recommendations for treatment or prescription antibiotics as required. If you take care of your gums, they will continue to take care of your teeth.
Have you experienced a gum cut or injury? Contact our Edmonton dentists right away. We can examine the problem and recommend treatment options.