Labial frenulum tears are injuries inside the mouth. They may cause bleeding but rarely require medical attention.
The labial frenulum is a thin layer of tissue that connects the lips to the gums and bones in the face. There are two different kinds of labial frenulum:
- maxillary labial frenum, which connects the upper lip to the mouth
- mandibular labial frenum, which connects the lower lip to the mouth
The labial frenulum provides stability to the lips, keeping them in place while the jaw and facial bones grow.
It is possible to tear the labial frenulum. People usually treat these injuries at home, but in some cases, they may need medical attention.
This article discusses first aid for upper and lower frenulum tears, how they happen, and when to see a doctor.
Upper frenulum tears are common in children. The main symptom is bleeding from the top of the gums and lips.
These injuries rarely require medical treatment and will heal without stitches.
First aid tips for an upper frenulum tear include:
- holding the outer lip against the teeth for 10 minutes to stop the bleeding
- avoiding pulling the lip out to check the injury, as this can restart the bleeding
A person should check that there are no other signs of swelling or infection after 3 days. After this time, there should be no bleeding if someone pulls the lip away from the gums.
Lower frenulum tears can occur from falls that cause a person to bite their lip. People should administer first aid for this injury as they would for an upper frenulum tear.
If an adult or child has a lower frenulum tear, they should press the outer lip against the teeth for 10 minutes to stop the bleeding.
Most frenulum tears heal by themselves after 3 or 4 days. Infections or other complications are rare.
Over-the-counter painkillers are also helpful, such as Tylenol or ibuprofen.
It is important to stay hydrated after a frenulum tear. A person should stick to consuming soft foods to reduce chewing and avoid salty, acidic, or spicy foods. These may irritate the wound.
A labial frenulum may keep tearing. If the frenulum is completely cut, then it cannot regrow. Hard patches of skin can form in the area as scar tissue.
If the frenulum tear is not a complete cut, it will heal. However, it can increase the risk of a future tear.
A labial frenulum tear most often occurs by falling, which is common in children. The force of the fall can tear the upper labial frenulum.
Lower labial frenulum tears occur when people fall and bite their lips. These injuries are more common in people with an overbite.
Labial frenulum tears rarely need medical treatment. They will usually heal at home without stitches, and there is a low risk of complications or infections.
However, medical treatment may be necessary if:
- the bleeding does not stop after 10 minutes of applying direct pressure
- there are signs of infection
- breathing difficulties occur after the injury
Doctors may prescribe a course of antibiotics if there are symptoms of an infection.
There is a risk of infection following a labial frenulum tear. However, doctors can easily treat these infections.
Labial frenulum tears are unlikely to cause major complications. However, people with an abnormal labial frenulum structure might experience:
- receding gums around the teeth
- a large gap between the upper front teeth
- difficulty moving the lips
Surgeons can address these issues with medical procedures, which include removing the frenulum.
Most people can treat a frenulum tear at home. However, some situations may require a doctor.
A person should seek medical advice within 24 hours if the injury looks infected, but there is no fever.
They should contact a doctor immediately if the following symptoms occur:
- a deep tear that may require stitches
- severe pain that persists for hours
- difficulty swallowing fluids, including saliva
- problems fully opening or closing the mouth
- increasing pain or swelling after 48 hours
The labial frenulum is a thin layer of tissue that keeps the lips in place as the bones around them grow.
Labial frenulum tears usually occur from a fall and are more common in children. This injury can cause bleeding and pain in the area. However, they rarely need medical attention.
A person can apply pressure on the lips to stop the bleeding. People can also take painkillers and apply a cold compress on the area to help with any pain.
If an infection occurs or symptoms do not go away, a person should consult with a doctor.