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Mark Bornfeld, DDS
Mark Bornfeld, DDS, Dentist
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 6020
Experience:  Clinical instructor, NYU College of Dentistry; 37 years private practice experience in general dentistry, member Academy of General Dentistry, ADA
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What can cause a person to bite their tongue and inside

Customer Question

what can cause a person to bite their tongue and inside cheek, usually when sleeping. These last couple of months I have been biting my inside cheeks and tongue. Sometimes I bite myself so hard that it wakes me up. I've never had this problem before. I take very good care of my teeth and see a dentist every six months. What could be causing this?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Dental
Expert:  drsumitbassi replied 6 years ago.
Any stress at work or home?
Have you seen a denstist?
Are you diagnosed of any medical condition?
On any medications?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I'm not under stress. I haven't checked with my dentist yet, although I do have an appt. with him on the 5th of May. I do have RA, and I am on methotrexate, plaquenal, folic acid, prozac,hydoxyzine(for sleep)Advil when needed for pain, vitamin d.
Expert:  drsumitbassi replied 6 years ago.
Dear Jacustomer,

I am sorry to know about your symptoms,

Based on what you mentioned,I will advise that you see a physician who can do a physical exam,eeg to rule out any underlying undiagnosed seziures which can lead to similar biting of tongue during sleep.
Dentist exam should also be done,to rule out malaligned teeth ,bruxism (when you clench (tightly hold your top and bottom teeth together) or grind (slide your teeth back and forth over each other) your teeth).
Sleep study also should be done,to rule out sleep disorders(nighmares) as a cause of your symptoms too.


Feel free to ask further questions if any.

Always ask if you need clarification/more information.Please click ACCEPT button to get my credit.POSITIVE feedback& BONUS are warmly appreciated. Please note that answer is for information only. It can't be a substitute to visit the doctor.

Expert:  Mark Bornfeld, DDS replied 6 years ago.
Welcome to JustAnswer, and thank you for putting your trust in me!

This issue is usually due to a nocturnal "bruxism" habit-- an unconscious clenching of the jaw and grinding of the teeth. The precise cause for bruxism is not known, but it is usually ascribed to increased muscle tone secondary to psychological or physiologic stress. It tends to manifest in episodes of a few days to a few weeks, alternating with periods of dormancy.

Bruxism is most commonly managed by the construction of a night guard appliance- a device constructed by your dentist, and worn over the teeth during sleep. This appliance keeps the upper and lower teeth from meeting; in so doing, it protects the teeth, temporomandibular joints, and soft tissues from injury. Used continuously during sleep, a night guard appliance can sometimes abolish the bruxism habit. (Although less commonly used, stress management and muscle relaxation techniques, including bio-feedback and hypnosis, have been employed in the management of this habit.)

Be advised that cheek and tongue biting can also occur due to sharp or rough areas on the teeth, as may occur due to cavities, lost fillings, or tooth breakage. Poor tooth position can also cause biting of the soft tissues; this is also a factor when dentures or other tooth prosthetic devices have improperly set teeth or retention clasps.

Regardless of the specifics, sudden onset of lip, cheek, or tongue biting should be assessed by your dentist, who will be able to identify the cause and provide remedial treatment.

Hope this helps...