Many people have inadvertently bitten down on their lip or cheek at some time in their lives. For most people, it is a random occurrence that generally only happens when they are distracted whilst enjoying a meal. For others, lip and cheek biting is actually an oral habit. In cases such as these, no dental treatment is required. However, cheek biting also occurs in some people due to the misalignment of teeth, wisdom teeth eruption, or night time grinding (bruxism). When this cheek biting happens on a regular basis, not only will you be in constant pain as a result of the wounds inflicted, but the affected area will eventually develop a traumatic fibroma, which is essentially scar tissue.
The more you bite the area, the larger the traumatic fibroma becomes in response to the irritation, sometimes growing up to 1.5 cm in size. This exacerbates the problem as this protrusion tends to be the first site of any further cheek biting.
If you suffer from constant but accidental cheek biting, your dentist can perform an oral examination to determine the problem. Once the cause is known, there are several ways of dealing with this problem.
If your teeth are overcrowded, what often happens is that one or several of them may be angled toward the cheek causing the skin of the cheek to become trapped as you chew your food. The most effective treatment for this case is to wear braces or Invisalign to realign your teeth so that they are no longer angled toward your cheek.
Wisdom Tooth Eruption
This often happens when there isn’t enough space in your mouth. The wisdom teeth erupt at an awkward angle, causing your cheek to become trapped between them as you eat. Extraction is the only option in this case. However, this does not necessarily mean you need to remove all your wisdom teeth, just the ones causing the injuries to your cheek.
Sharp Cusps on Back Teeth
Sometimes the raised areas of your molars are particularly sharp and may catch on your cheek from time to time as you eat. Your dentist can reshape these cusps so that they are no longer so sharp.
Also referred to as teeth grinding, this usually happens while you sleep. As you grind, the flap of your cheek may become caught between your teeth, causing injury. Silicone nightguards can be custom made for your teeth by a dentist, and will protect both your teeth and your cheeks from any further damage.
The gap left by a missing tooth can become a hazard as while you eat, your cheek may become trapped in it. Your dentist can replace the lost tooth with a dental implant provided the space is big enough. This should put a stop to any further cheek biting.
If you suffer from constant cheek biting, seek the professional advice of your dentist. They will be able to determine the cause and suggest an appropriate dental treatment. Make sure to see an emergency dentist if your biting habits cause unexpected or sudden harm to your teeth and mouth.