Cheek biting can be painful, irritating, and unhealthy. It can also be a sign that you have poorly-fitting dental restorations in the back of your mouth that might need replacing.
Occasional Cheek Biting
Occasional cheek biting is something that just happens. It’s often due to reading or talking while you eat, or if you’re eating foods with an unusual texture or shape that causes you to bite down differently. It typically happens just once, hurts and you forget about it.
Sometimes, though, if you bite your cheek it may swell up, which puts it more in the way and you may bite it several more times over the course of the next couple days. Chew carefully for a while to avoid biting it again. When swelling goes down, you won’t bite your cheek again for a while.
This isn’t a sign that there’s a problem with your restorations.
Habitual Cheek Biting
Some people bite their cheek habitually. It’s a bad habit like chewing on pens, pencils, and other nonfoods. This can lead to irritation, pain, and swelling, but the habit persists.
This can be very destructive, but it’s hard to stop yourself. Although this is more often a psychological problem, it may actually develop as a result of chronic cheek biting.
Chronic Cheek Biting
Chronic cheek biting is when you are often biting on your cheek. Between the recurring accidental bites and the resulting swelling, you may spend more time biting your cheeks than not. You may be able to avoid it by consciously thinking about it, but as soon as you forget, you’re biting your cheek again. It may also happen while you’re asleep.
This can occur naturally, one of the side effects of malocclusion, a bad bite. It may occur with TMJ and bruxism, or it may be a precursor of the conditions.
Often, though, chronic cheek biting can be caused by poorly-fitting restorations. Dental crowns are the most common culprit, but really any restoration that changes the biting surface of your tooth can be to blame.
If you find yourself biting your cheek all the time, we can help. If your bite is the problem, we can adjust it and hopefully head off or treat painful TMJ symptoms like headaches as well. And if you have poorly done restorations that are to blame, we can replace them with better-fitting restorations that will allow you to chew comfortably.