Will I wake up with two tongues tomorrow?
February 7, 2013 2:20 PM   Subscribe

I cut the tip of my tongue vertically about 2 to 4 mm deep, right down the center. Will it heal, or spontaneously split in half, or what?

Basically, I have ACCIDENTALLY split my tongue at the tip right down the center so that it is actually separated. It has stopped bleeding and I'm not in that much pain, though it feels super weird and I'm getting the shivers just thinking about what it looked like in the mirror.

My assumption is that this will heal on it's own with no special care, but I wanted to google just to make sure that there was no special concerns or instructions. But then, as I was about to type in the search terms, I became terrified of the images I might find. Please, tell me if I need to buy special tongue bandaids and spare me the sight of other people who've done the same stupid thing I have.
posted by 256 to Health & Fitness (13 answers total)
It sounds like you need a doctor's visit, stitches, and possibly antibiotics.
posted by hot soup girl at 2:23 PM on February 7, 2013 [3 favorites]

So, worse case scenario is that the wound sides will heal independently of one another and you'll have a slight split on your tongue.

It's not going to split any farther then it has. It might heal.

I suggest you go get stitches.
posted by royalsong at 2:26 PM on February 7, 2013

It's fairly common in the body mod community to have to split your tongue several times to get it to stick because it heals so well/quickly. Keep it clean, brush and use alcohol free mouthwash after eating, and do a sea salt swish every now and again. You'll be fine soon.
posted by catch as catch can at 2:26 PM on February 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Your tongue is pretty important. If it's actually separated it definitely sounds like stitches might be in order! Please at least call your doctor.
posted by snorkmaiden at 2:27 PM on February 7, 2013

If it's split more than 1" I'd say you probably need stitches. Does the laceration shift around when you move your tongue? If it does, doctor. Go. Now.

Otherwise, I'd say you're fine. I was told by a doc that tongue infections were rare and unless it swells, intervention is typically not necessary. Maybe call the nurse on call at the ER / hospital and see if they can't give some advice?

I ain't no doctor. I just have a kid that's rough and tumble and busts his face constantly.
posted by youandiandaflame at 2:37 PM on February 7, 2013

I had an orthodontic appliance called a quadhelix that completely obliterated the shit out of my tongue. For the three years I wore it, it wore deep grooves in my tongue. This was prolonged, constant exposure over years. It's mostly all healed up, and most of the healing happened in the first year I had the blasted thing off.

The tongue is pretty resilient. If I were you I'd be freaked out, grossed out, but ultimately not be overly concerned.
posted by phunniemee at 2:40 PM on February 7, 2013

Yeah, I found the nerve to take another look. I'd say 2 mm is the upper bound (way less than 1 inch).
posted by 256 at 2:45 PM on February 7, 2013

Tongue damage is something that your body is very good at repairing. This is for good evolutionary reasons, I am sure. You should be fine, after a while.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 3:33 PM on February 7, 2013

Drink through a straw. How I know, is that I fell off bleachers as a tween and hit my chin while I had my tongue between my teeth. I almost bit the tip of my tongue clean off. No stitches, no doctor either (school wouldn't send me home or call my parents, my mother almost killed someone when she saw me) and it healed in a couple of days. I'm not even joking, it only took a couple very very very painful days.
posted by lydhre at 3:36 PM on February 7, 2013

I imagine a doctor couldn't do that much for you, but in the other hand, when I was 17, half my life ago, I was stung on the tip of my tongue by a wasp, and the site is very prone to ulceration when my Crohn's disease is active. So although your cut's doubtless a lot tidier than a wasp sting, it's probably still best you get it neatened up as much as possible before it heals. But if you don't, well, it's not a big deal.
posted by ambrosen at 4:26 PM on February 7, 2013

Yes, tongues heal quickly. The thing I'd be worried about is infection. I'd swish some peroxide and try to eat things that are fairly easy to chew, and that don't have the tendency to hang around in the mouth (like taffee or bready things). But that's just me. 2mm is nothing.
posted by gjc at 5:21 PM on February 7, 2013

Tongues heal quickly. Squicky story: when I was around six I fell off of a merry-go-round on the playground and bit my tongue off. Like OFF off. About two and a half inches of my tongue went into a plastic baggie and I was off the emergency room. I sat cross-eyed for a half hour watching them stitch it back on. Interestingly, it didn't hurt, just throbbed, and it healed quickly. 23 years later, there's no evidence it ever happened. So yes, tongues heal quickly, and six year old me was more than happy to be on an all-ice cream diet for a day or two. However, I'd be less worried about how it heals and more worried about infection. At least call your doctor.
posted by sephira at 6:41 AM on February 8, 2013

I love ask.me, but in this case, I'd call a doctor or emergency room and ask their advice. You may get someone in a hurry who won't help, but usually you'll get help. Some body damage is repairable with superglue. It might benefit a lot from a stitch or 2. Peroxide rinse is a good idea. I've used Anbesol as a topical pain killer for my mouth; it works well.
posted by theora55 at 7:48 AM on February 8, 2013

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