If you have ever bitten your tongue accidentally, you know how painful even a small tongue injury can be. After all, while the tongue is a resilient muscle, it has five cranial nerves that send pain signals directly to the brain.
In a car accident, you may bite through your tongue, potentially resulting in its partial or total amputation. While this type of injury is not exactly rare in rear-end collisions that cause whiplash, a serious tongue injury may change your life forever.
Your tongue is a vital part of your body
Every time you speak, sing, whistle, eat or drink, you use your tongue, making it a vital part of your body. If your tongue has a significant injury, you may miss out on the experiences that make life worth living. Even worse, you may not be able to perform your job duties.
Tongue damage may be difficult to repair
A minor tongue laceration may heal on its own without medical intervention. For a more serious one, an emergency room doctor may use stitches to repair damage. Stitched wounds typically heal within eight weeks, often with the assistance of antibiotics.
Tongue amputations are a different story. If doctors are not able to reattach a severed tongue quickly, you may lose much of the muscle. While therapy may help you manage the injury, you may never regain your speaking voice.
Specialist care may be necessary
Considering the importance of your tongue and the difficulty of repairing severe damage, an emergency room physician may refer you to a specialist. A surgical dentist, otolaryngologist or another medical professional may help to minimize the long-term consequences of your accident-related tongue injury.