Cheek Biting

July 04, 2015


Cheek Biting
Cheek biting marks
The most common symptom for cheek biting is linea alba which is a thin white line caused by the friction
Accidental cheek biting is likely to occur due to misaligned teeth, ill-fitting dentures or tobacco chewing. All of us bite the insides of the cheeks while eating at some time or the other. However, there is a difference in accidental biting of the cheek while eating and habitual biting. Chronic cheek biting is somewhat similar to biting fingernails and is often associated with awake bruxism and teeth clenching. It is often observed in people who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. The lesions and symptoms produced in the oral cavity are commonly diagnosed by dentists. Cheek biters are also likely to chew the inner lips and the tongue. Medically known as morsicatio buccarum, it can be classified as a kind of frictional keratosis.
 

Symptoms

 
Cheek biting, in itself poses no risk and often goes unnoticed. It might be first noticed during a dental examinaton or may be reported by the biter himself when the affected area becomes painful. 
  1. The most common symptom is a ragged line of thickened mucus membranes, callus, black spots or ulcers along the inside of the cheek where the upper and the lower teeth touch each other. This is often accompanied by linea alba which is a thin line that stretches along the same place and is attributed to friction
  2. Additional symptoms include bleeding, swelling and tenderness in the case of compulsive cheek biting.
  3. These areas are prone to infection and often become painful as a result.
  4. In fact, chewers sometimes separate strands of mucosa with continued biting.
  5. Some people report a burning sensation at the affected place.
  6. Some people may exhibit lesions at the sides of the tongue too.

Treatment and Management

 
Mild cheek biting does not need treatment and generally fades away with time and age. But for chronic biters who cause extensive self-injury, treatment focuses at both, breaking the habit as well as protecting the mouth from further injuries.
  1. Dental appliances like mouth guards or occlusal splints are recommended to protect the cheek from injury and to serve as a habit breaking appliance. 
  2. In severe cases, where persistent habit hampers the healing of the lesions, the dentist may opt to grind the sharp edges to prevent wounds.
  3. However, counselling and reconditioning are also an option, though it has limited benefit.
  4. Since, it is often attributed to stress, using relaxing techniques can help to control it.

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