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Accidentally biting the edge of your lip while chewing gum or eating food can be a serious annoyance, but it rarely causes enough damage to warrant treatment. However, there are rare instances when an accident, blow to the face or sports injury can result in a significant lip injury. In a time like this, your dentist, Dr. Lida M. Vargas, offers these basic first-aid tips.

It’s important to get a clear understanding of the significance of your lip injury. If there is any blood on your lip, you can use a warm, wet washcloth to gently wipe it away. If you have blood or debris in your mouth, you can rinse them away with lukewarm saltwater.

If your lip is bleeding excessively, it might require stitches or other professional treatment at the emergency room or urgent care clinic.

If your lip starts to swell, you can try holding a cold compress to the area for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. You can improvise a cold compress by placing crushed ice in a zip-top bag wrapped in a washcloth or tea towel.

If your lip continues to bleed, you can try to control it by holding some sterile gauze to the wound. If the bleeding hasn’t stopped after 20 minutes, the wound likely requires professional treatment in the emergency room or an urgent care clinic.

If you have an injured lip in Fairfax, Virginia, and you’re concerned about providing quality care, you can always call Virginia Dental Group at 703-385-3800 to seek professional advice and treatment.