Cut in the Mouth: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

A cut in the mouth may be on your lips. It could also be inside your mouth.

Many times, the cut is left open and stitches are not needed. But sometimes stitches help with healing or to stop bleeding.

In some cases, the doctor will want to do some tests to check for other problems, like a tooth injury. These tests include imaging tests like an X-ray or a CT scan.

If you have stitches, they will often dissolve on their own. But sometimes a doctor needs to take them out. Stitches are usually removed in about 5 days, but it may depend on the type of cut you have.

The doctor has checked you carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • If you have pain, take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • It may help to cool the inside of your mouth with a piece of ice or a flavoured ice pop.
  • If the cut is inside your mouth:
    • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water right after meals. Saltwater rinses may help healing. To make a saltwater solution for rinsing the mouth, mix 1 tsp of salt in 1 cup of warm water.
    • Eat soft foods that are easy to swallow.
    • Avoid foods that might sting. These include salty or spicy foods, citrus fruits or juices, and tomatoes.
    • Try using a topical medicine, such as Orabase, to reduce mouth pain. If your child is under 2 years of age, ask your doctor if your child can use this medicine.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have trouble breathing.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have problems swallowing.
  • The cut starts to bleed. Oozing small amounts of blood is normal.
  • You have symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness around the cut.
    • Red streaks leading from the cut.
    • Pus draining from the cut.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You notice a new problem like a tooth injury.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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