I Really Sliced My Tongue

It is not uncommon to bite your tongue a little bit from time to time. We just need to protect it for a day or two until the soreness is gone. But if you really slice your tongue, you need to take action.bite your tongue - paid - Depositphotos 82544376 s-2019

By “slice your tongue” we mean a deep cut in the surface or biting off (or nearly so) a piece of your tongue. These injuries typically hurt and bleed. An injury of this sort needs medical attention.

Common Circumstance of Sliced Tongues

  • A slip while eating
  • Jarring while playing sports
  • Being under dental anesthesia
  • Falling or being in a car crash
  • While sleeping
  • During a seizure
  • Self-harm

What to do Immediately

  1. Wash your hands to avoid transmission of bacteria
  2. Rinse with clear (clean) water
  3. Cover the cut with a gauze pad or a clean cloth
  4. Press on the injury to stop the bleeding
  5. When it stops bleeding, suck on an ice cube to reduce the swelling and the pain
  6. Watch for indications of infection (pus, fever, swelling)

Note: don’t tilt your head back. This will cause blood to be swallowed.

When you need additional treatment. It is important that you seek treatment as soon as possible, so that you have the best treatment options available. You should go to a hospital emergency room or an urgent care center if

  • The bleeding does not stop
  • The bleeding stops and then starts again
  • You see a big open cut
  • A piece of your tongue has been cut off completely or partially (take the lost piece if possible. In some cases, the tongue can be reconstructed)
  • If you are in great pain and the pain is not abated by ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • You have trouble swallowing, opening (or closing) your mouth, or breathing
  • The injury is caused by some object that may be dirty and cause infection

Treatment will involve cleaning the cut and removing any debris or other objects. The doctor will also examine the area to identify any indications of infection or nerve damage. The doctor will likely close the cut with stitches or sutures. In some cases, antibiotics will be prescribed to prevent or treat infection. Then follow all of the doctor’s instructions for allowing the injury to heal.

Some cases of tongue injuries can be prevented by wearing a seatbelt while riding in a car or truck and by wearing a well-fitting mouthguard when playing sports.