Risk factors and symptoms
Injuries to the mouth is not something uncommon. In fact, its delicate structure and exposed location make the mouth, especially the lips vulnerable. Injuries to the lips vary and some of the most common ones include:
- Cracked lips, which is caused by over-drying lips.
- Cut lips, which can be caused by accidental bites by the teeth and other accidents, such as blows on the face and falling.
- Blisters, which is commonly triggered by facial herpes.
- Mouth ulcers.
Depending on the wound causes, lip injuries may involve various symptoms to sign its degree of severity. As light trauma to the lips might be unnoticeable, these symptoms can be beneficial in spotting it. General symptoms to lip trauma include:
- Burning sensation.
How lip wound heals
Generally, wound healing process elapses four major stages—hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling. These four stages may need weeks to years to complete, depending on the severity of the wound and properness of the wound care in promoting healing. If you are expecting a proper wound healing process for your wounded lip, consider some of the factors contributing to its healing, such as:
- The depth of the wound.
- The direction of the wound.
- Sun exposure.
- Dressing types.
- The cause of the wound.
However, some people experience a very slow healing with a palatal wound—the wound located on the upper or lower lip, as even a small movement of the lips causes the wound to crack and re-bleed. Hence, some questions raised, do palatal wounds heal differently from the wounds located on the other body parts? In fact, wounded lip will elapse similar healing process with any wounds in any parts of the body. Surprisingly, the wound can possibly heal faster and prone less to infection than wounds on the other parts of the body. The main stages of lip wound healing process are:
- Hemostasis—bleeding, which occurs as body natural way of cleansing injured part. Although oral wounds may bleed a lot, it heals in quite faster period compared to the other wounds located in other body parts.
- Inflammation—which is caused by secreted chemicals by the body which functions to kill bacteria around the wound site. Lips which are wounded by contacts with rough surface, for instance, will bleed and swell for some days before starting the entire healing process.
- Proliferation—which is signed by the formation of some new skin cells. During this stage, epidermal cells migrate from the wound edge, causing the wounded site to enclose. During the proliferation stage, the wound site might have lighter tone than its surrounding. Scabs may also form in this period to protect delicate skin tissues.
- Remodeling—collagen is produced and will strengthen the skin around the wound site. Fibers are reorganized and tissue integrity increases, so that the process can be longer than three other stages.
Seeing these stages, it becomes clear that sufficient blood supply and anti-bacterial agent are some of the most important factors determining how fast a wound is going to heal. Hence, why palatal or lip wound can heal very quickly and less prone to infection can be explained as follow:
- The head and neck is supported by excellent blood supply. Wounds, in order to heal need more blood supply for new skin cell growth. Wounds located on the face, including around the mouth has enough blood supply to cleanse the wound site as well as support necessary nutrients for wound healing.
- The mouth—and lips are surrounded by mucous membranes and saliva. Both of these have very good immune functions. Hence, the membranes and saliva work together in combating infesting bacteria around the wound site. As a result, infection is rarely found in the wound located in the palatal area.
- Oral bacteria is not as pathogenic as bacteria residing in other parts of the body. Hence, when there is an abrasion, cut, or crack on the lip, these bacteria—although go into the bloodstream, will not cause harmful effect on the wound as well as the entire body.