Whether you’ve been struck in the face or simply cut your gums while eating, a sudden mouthful of blood may signify a gum injury. From performing first aid to assessing the damage, it’s important that you stay calm and know when to consult a dentist. While mild injuries can be treated at home, dental emergencies should be handled by a professional.
Dr. Padmaja Yalamanchili of Fairfax Family Dentist in Fairfax, Virginia, provides emergency dentistry services for children and adults, including care for sudden gum injuries.
First aid for a gum injury
Unlike the hard enamel of your teeth, the soft tissue of your gums is easy to damage and quick to bleed. Your mouth is full of blood vessels, so gum injuries tend to bleed heavily even when they’re small. Your gums are also prone to infection, which adds another layer of concern when you injure them.
In the event of a gum injury, don’t panic. Immediately rinse your mouth with cool water to clear away debris and blood, and then find a clean paper towel or gauze and apply pressure to the injury. This will help stem the bleeding so you can get a better look.
It might take time for the bleeding to stop, so be patient and don’t prod at the wound. Instead, apply a cold compress or ice pack to your face. Over-the-counter medications can also help with swelling and pain.
When it becomes a dental emergency
A small cut on the gums might not be cause for concern, but any injury that causes visible damage such as a gaping gash or tear and/or excessive bleeding should be considered a dental emergency. Bottom line: Any sudden, significant injury to the gums or teeth should be seen by your dentist.
If the cut is particularly long or wide, you might need stitches to seal the wound. Dr. Yalamanchili may also recommend oral antibiotics if the injury shows signs of infection in the days following your gum injury or if there was significant debris in the wound.
You should contact a dentist immediately if you notice the following:
- Extensive tissue damage
- Exposure of tooth roots
- Bleeding that won’t stop, even after applying pressure
- Loose or unstable teeth
- Increasing swelling
- Persistent pain
Accidents can happen anytime, which is why it’s important to have a dentist with a flexible schedule. Dr. Padmaja Yalamanchili always makes time for patients suffering from dental emergencies, ranging from knocked-out teeth to bloodied gums.
If you’ve recently suffered a gum injury, schedule an emergency visit to get the wound checked and treated. To get in touch, call 703-213-5312, or book an appointment online.