Bitten Tongue or Lip
- A small cut (less than 1/4 inch) is likely to heal itself.
- Carefully wipe the area clean with gauze or a cloth. Apply a cold compress, ice pack, or small bag of frozen fruit or vegetables to the area to minimize swelling.
- If the cut is larger than 1/4 inch, or if bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes of cold treatment, go to the emergency room.
Burned Roof of Mouth
- Eating very hot food (like pizza) can burn the roof of your mouth. These painful sores and blisters typically heal on their own. If they have not healed after 10 days, see your dentist.
- In the meantime, use warm salt water rinses (1/8 of a teaspoon in 8 ounces of water) after meals to keep the area clean. If pain relief is needed use a topical oral anesthetic (found over-the-counter at your pharmacy). You can also take acetaminophen as directed on the packaging label.
If your mouth sores are caused by having new braces, apply a topical anesthetic (available over-the-counter at your pharmacy). To alleviate pain, take acetaminophen as directed on the packaging label.
Pain, Swelling, or Abscess
See your dentist right away because gum pain or swelling can be the symptoms of an abscess (infection) that forms in gum tissue or in a tooth's root and the area that surrounds it. There are many reasons why gums can swell, become painful, or abscess. Only a thorough exam by your Dentist can identify the underlying cause.
If the abscess ruptures, you may experience a sudden rush of foul-smelling and foul-tasting fluid from the swollen or painful area. Rinse your mouth with warm water immediately.
For a day or two after braces or retainers have been adjusted, you may experience discomfort. To help alleviate discomfort, rinse your mouth with warm salt water or take acetaminophen as directed on the packaging label.
Food trapped between Teeth
While this commonly occurs, it is not a dental emergency. To dislodge the food, try tying a small knot in the middle of some dental floss, or use an interproximal brush or toothpick.
Piece of Appliance Inhaled
Call 911 immediately and go to the hospital emergency room for treatment.
Piece of Appliance Swallowed
Call your dentist or Orthodontist to discuss appropriate next steps.
A Poking Wire
Call your Orthodontist to describe the situation and schedule an appointment. Use a Q-tip or pencil eraser to push the wire flat against the tooth. If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, cover it with dental wax (available over-the-counter at your pharmacy).
Bracket Knocked Off
Call your Orthodontist to describe the situation and schedule an appointment. If the loose bracket has rotated on the wire and is sticking out, attempt to turn it back into its normal position. To minimize the movement of the loose brace, use dental wax (available over-the-counter at your pharmacy.)
Lost Wire or Ligature
Schedule an appointment with your Orthodontist. If you found the rubber ligature, you may be able to put it back in place using sterile tweezers.