Teeth and Mouth Injuries
Mouth injuries are common, especially in children, and may involve the teeth, jaw, lips, tongue, inner cheeks,
gums, roof of the mouth (hard or soft palates), neck, or tonsils. Sometimes mouth injuries look worse than they
are. Even a small cut or puncture inside the mouth may bleed a lot because there are many blood vessels in the
head and neck area. Home treatment of minor mouth injuries can help stop bleeding, reduce pain, help healing,
and prevent infection.
Teeth may be injured during a fall or a sport activity. A tooth may be knocked out (avulsed). You may be able
to replace a permanent tooth in its socket (reimplant) if it has been knocked out or torn away from the socket.
Immediate first aid and dental care are needed when a permanent tooth has been knocked out.
An injury could crack, chip, or break a tooth, or make a tooth change color. A tooth also may be loose or moved
in position (dental luxation) or jammed into the gum (intruded).
Other dental injuries may be caused by grinding your teeth, especially at night. Your teeth may hurt, chip, or
become loose. Biting surfaces may become flat and worn down. A broken or loose dental appliance or an orthodontic
wire or bracket may poke or rub the inside of your mouth and make your mouth sore.
An injury to your mouth or lips may cause a large, loose flap of tissue or a gaping wound that may need stitches.
A smaller wound on the lip may be stitched for cosmetic reasons. If an object, such as a piece of broken tooth or
an orthodontic wire, gets stuck in a wound, you may need to have it removed by a health professional.
The piece of skin between your lips and gums or under your tongue (frenulum) may tear or rip. Usually this type of
injury will heal without stitches. It is generally not a concern unless the tear was caused by physical or sexual
An injury to the roof of your mouth, the back of your throat, or a tonsil can injure deeper tissues in your head
or neck. These injuries can happen when a child falls with a pointed object, such as a pencil or Popsicle stick,
in his or her mouth.
Review the Emergencies and Check Your Symptoms sections to determine if and when you need to see a health