When Should You See a Dentist for an Oral Soft Tissue Injury?
Like any part of the body, the inside surfaces of your mouth can become injured. While some dental injuries primarily involved the teeth, many of these incidents cause swelling or bleeding in the soft tissues of the mouth.
Since oral soft tissue injuries can occur due to contact sports, vehicle collisions or simple accidents, it's important to know how to respond to these injuries. Below, we list the symptoms of a soft tissue injury that indicates the need for a trip to the dentist.
Bleeding That Does Not Stop
Because the interior of the mouth heals rapidly, most wounds stop bleeding within 30 minutes. To expedite the clotting process, place sterile gauze or a clean cloth against the wound and apply gentle pressure.
Check if the bleeding has stopped after 10 to 15 minutes. If the blood flow has not slowed significantly, seek medical care.
While oral soft tissue injuries often bleed, they should not bleed much. If you experience so much blood flow that you have to spit multiple times or the liquid appears to gush, you may have a severe injury.
Try to put pressure on the wound as detailed in the previous section and visit a hospital or emergency dentist right away.
Most oral soft tissue injuries can be alleviated using over-the-counter medication and a cold compress. However, if your discomfort persists for more than an hour, the pain may mean that you have a serious injury that isn't visible.
Your dentist may want to take X-ray images to determine the cause of your pain.
Foreign Objects Stuck in Soft Tissues
Because soft tissue injuries often occur during impact incidents, such as being hit in the face with a sports ball, these injuries can leave debris in the mouth. Check for any foreign objects in the gums, cheek and tongue.
If you notice a foreign object, you can attempt to remove it using dental floss or a toothpick. If you are unsuccessful or the object has pierced through the soft tissue, seek professional help.
Wound Related to a Dislodged Tooth
Even if you don't experience any of the previous symptoms on this list, you should see a dentist about any oral soft tissue injury related to the loss or damage of a tooth. In addition to addressing the tooth damage, your dentist can assess the soft tissue injuries and prescribe treatment during your visit.
Serious oral soft tissue injuries are considered dental emergencies. See your usual dentist or an emergency dentist as soon as possible after this type of injury to minimise the lasting damage to your smile.