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Assessment and management of intra-oral lacerations

Judd E Hollander, MD
Lauren N Weinberger Conlon, MD
Section Editors
Anne M Stack, MD
Allan B Wolfson, MD
Deputy Editor
James F Wiley, II, MD, MPH


Intra-oral lacerations represent a small percentage of lacerations, but the repair of them has some important differences relative to lacerations of the skin. Once serious airway compromise is excluded, careful assessment of concurrent oral injuries is necessary. Oral lacerations commonly occur from the impact of teeth on oral mucosa secondary to motor vehicle accidents, contact sports, industrial accidents, and personal violence; fortunately, lacerations that do not gape open often heal well without intervention. Larger, gaping oral lacerations benefit from wound closure to reduce infection and bleeding complications. Most lacerations can be repaired by the emergency clinician; however, there are rare circumstances where specialist referral may be necessary.

Minor wound management, methods of suture placement, repair of adjacent anatomic sites, and evaluation of dental or oropharyngeal trauma are discussed in detail separately:

(See "Minor wound preparation and irrigation".)

(See "Closure of minor skin wounds with sutures".)

(See "Assessment and management of facial lacerations".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 29, 2016.
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