While it's extremely rare, if you get a shard of glass stuck in your gums or elsewhere in your mouth, you should know what to do. This guide will help you to get the treatment you need without worsening the problem and causing serious tissue damage.
How It Might Happen
If you think that you'll never have reason to worry about chomping glass, you might be surprised to know that there is a chance it could happen to you. Glass bottles can break, drinking glasses can have very small chips in them that break loose once you're drinking from them, or you could even find glass in your food.
What To Do
If you suspect that you've bitten down on a piece of glass, examine what you were drinking from or eating for more glass or chips in a bottle or cup. If you find any, assume that you do indeed have a piece of glass embedded in your mouth. Don't try to poke it, since you may accidentally push it in further, damaging the tissues of your mouth, or harm your hand.
Instead, call a dentist immediately and explain the problem to them. Arrange to be seen as quickly as possible for your mouth to be examined and any glass to be carefully removed. In the meantime, while you get ready to travel to the dentist, follow these steps.
- Don't Remove The Glass - While your first instinct might be to try and pull out the glass, don't try to! Even if it doesn't get further wedged into your mouth's soft tissues, the glass may break off, leaving a piece underneath the tissue of your mouth. Even if you managed to remove the whole piece, it would leave a wound that would be susceptible to all of the bacteria in your mouth.
- Don't Try To Drink or Eat - It's undoubtedly painful, but try to avoid doing anything that could draw the glass out of your mouth and send it down your throat. Swallowing glass can cause severe injury, or even death. Avoid eating, drinking, using a straw, or even taking pills to help with the pain. If the pain is too much, you can try applying a numbing oral ointment around the area of the glass, but again, don't touch the glass.
- Use Cotton Balls or Gauze to Prop You Mouth Open - Depending on where the glass shard is, closing your mouth and resting your tongue may potentially result in more cuts or dislodge the glass. To avoid this, place clean cotton balls or gauze in the back of your mouth, over your molars (or elsewhere, if that's where the pain is). This will prevent you from clamping down your mouth completely, so you don't worsen the problem by touching the glass.
- Get to the Dentist! - Seeing a dentist is absolutely necessary for removing the glass and cleaning the injury site(s). Don't delay, and don't decide you can take care of it yourself - only a dentist can thoroughly examine your mouth to make sure that all of the glass is safely removed.
Nobody wants to bite down on glass, but if you ever find yourself in that situation, make sure to follow the steps in this guide. If your dentist provides additional advice over the phone, apply those tips, too! If you're looking for a dentist in your area, visit Family First Dentistry LLC.