What To Do (And What Not To Do) When Your Child Bites His/Her Lip Or Tongue

When a small child has dental work done that requires anesthesia, the risk of your child accidentally biting his or her lip or tongue after the procedure is quite high. That's because children are often fascinated by the numbness around their mouth or simply forget about it. Regardless, all parents should be aware of the do's and don'ts of dealing with such a situation, as lip and tongue bites are pretty common dental emergencies among small children.

DO Apply Pressure to the Affected Area

Always start by assessing the severity of the bite. If the child's teeth have punctured the skin, there's probably going to be a lot of blood. This is especially true if the child bit his or her tongue, as the tongue is packed with blood vessels. Don't panic about the amount of blood and try to calm your child down as well; have the child lie on his or her back and apply pressure to the affected area using a clean cloth until the bleeding stops. If your child bit his or her lip or tongue during a fall on the playground, you may also need to clean any dirt or debris out of the area using hydrogen peroxide.

DO Know When to Seek Emergency Care

In most cases, you should be able to get the bleeding to subside within a few short minutes. From there, you'd be surprised at how quickly a child's tongue or lips can heal after such trauma. However, if you cannot get the bleeding to stop, or if a chunk of the lip or tongue has actually been bitten off, it's time to seek emergency care; find a 24-hour dentist in your area and bring your child in as soon as possible. Keep applying pressure to the area in the meantime.

DON'T Feed Salty or Acidic Foods

Finally, even once the bleeding stops and it appears that the wound is healing, it's important to avoid feeding your child salty or acidic foods, which can not only be painful for your child to eat, but can hinder the healing process. Instead, it might actually be appropriate to let your child enjoy foods that don't require much chewing for a few days, such as milk shakes, mashed potatoes, and the like. 

Dealing with the aftermath of a bitten lip or tongue can be scary for both parents and children alike; by following these tips, however, the situation can be handled appropriately. To learn more, contact someone like Milan Simanek DDS.