Cheek biting can be painful, distracting, and can impact your appearance. Properly treating it, though, can be hard if you don’t know what the real cause is.
Occasional Cheek Biting
It’s normal for people to bite their cheek occasionally. You may be distracted when you’re eating or eating an unusual food that causes your teeth to move in an unexpected way. It may happen just once and you forget it.
Other times you may bite your cheek once and in response your cheek may swell up, causing you to bite it more. You may find yourself biting your cheek many times that day or for a few days in a row.
Typically, this isn’t a problem. Taking a little more care to avoid biting a swollen cheek will allow it to heal, and you’ll find that you’re not biting it any more.
Chronic Cheek Biting
Chronic cheek biting, though, occurs frequently. You may bite your cheek, have it get swollen and spend a few days trying to avoid doing it again. It will heal and you’ll stop thinking about it, only you’ll bite your cheek again in a week or so. It may occur when you eat, but often it happens at night while you’re sleeping.
Chronic cheek biting is most often due to a bad bite, often the early stages of TMJ. If your teeth aren’t fitting together properly, they are more likely to catch your cheek between them. You may start doing it on one side, then after trying to adjust to avoid it, you end up doing it on the other side. You may even notice a line of calluses beginning to form on your cheek to protect it. Ironically, this may actually be your body trying to protect your teeth from too hard or improper contacts.
This can develop naturally, but it may also be caused by a poorly fitting reconstructive dentistry. Dental crowns are the most common culprit, but others may be responsible as well.
Chronic cheek biting can develop into habitual cheek biting.
Habitual Cheek Biting
Habitual cheek biting is usually a bad habit that develops the same way as others like nail biting do. It’s just something we do nervously, then it becomes a regular activity. You’re normally chewing on it softly. Not too hard, but enough to irritate and cause pain and swelling.
As with many of these chronic bad habits, it’s a lot harder to stop doing it than you think it should be. You can tell yourself not to do it, but you’ll keep at it nonetheless.
If you are biting your cheek often and think it might be due to a bad bite or poorly fitting dental restoration, we can help. Please call (610) 272-0828 for an appointment with a Philadelphia dentist at Dental Excellence of Blue Bell.