“Why Do I Bite My Lip All The Time?”

biting

Whether it’s your lip, your cheeks, or your tongue, biting the tissues in and around your mouth is a troublesome habit for many. Mostly brought on by stress or as a nervous habit, cheek or lip biting can be hard to break. At our dental office in Austin, we’d like our patients to know just how harmful this habit can actually be and provide them tips on how to stop.

Explanations to Why We Bite

If you’re a chronic nibbler, the cause may be nerve related and should be resolved through actively recognizing when you do it and working consciously to stop it. Sometimes, a bite to the oral tissues is accidental, typically occurring when trying to multitask eating and talking. Although we all know how painful it can be, the occasional bite usually isn’t a big deal and should heal on its own.

However, there are times when lip or cheek biting can be unavoidable. An abundance of accidental bites could be a sign of something more serious like a misaligned bite (malocclusion) or even TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder). When teeth don’t align properly, the likelihood of your cheek, lip, or tongue getting in between them increases.

Why is Chronic Biting Bad?

No matter what the underlying cause is, biting any part of the mouth hurts! And the discomfort sometimes lasts much longer than the initial zing of pain upon contact. What’s more, after a bite, a mouth sore usually develops. These sores can become infected if proper oral hygiene isn’t maintained, and infection in the mouth is never a good thing. If malocclusion is the main cause behind your accidental bites, a whole host of other potential problems can arise including headaches, tooth shifting, and jaw pain.

How Can You Stop?

Like we’ve discussed, if you’ve identified your biting as a nervous habit, try to consciously work at stopping it. Also chew more deliberately and pay attention while eating to reduce the chance of sustaining an injury. If this is an ongoing problem, talk with your dentist in Austin to determine if your bite may be misaligned.

At our Austin dental office, we’re always here to help current and new patients with any concerns they may have. If you’re experiencing the pain of chronically biting your cheeks, lips, or tongue, give us a call to schedule an appointment today. We’ll determine the cause of your biting and work with you to help correct the problem.

Welcoming patients from Austin, Westlake, Cedar Park and beyond. 

What’s It Mean if Your Jaw Gets Locked?

jaw locking

The feeling of a jaw that won’t close or open and seems as if it’s stuck is one of the worst feelings someone can experience. It’s terrifying, it’s painful, and it’s random. But what exactly causes it? The team at our Austin dental office is here to hopefully ease your worries and explain what may be to blame.

Let’s Define it

Before we dive into the specifics of what may be causing your jaw to feel locked in position, we’d like to clear up some terminology. The term lockjaw isn’t the same thing as jaw lock, although often used interchangeably. Lockjaw is a result of tetanus — a very serious, potentially fatal bacterial infection usually caused by a cut from a rusty piece of metal. Jaw lock, however, is what we’re talking about here and is directly related to the temporomandibular joint, also referred to as the TMJ.

What’s Happening?

Now that we know the difference between lockjaw and jaw lock, let’s look into two possible explanations behind the latter.

  • The Bite. The bite is the term dentists use to describe how the top teeth and bottom teeth fit together. If the bite is bad, known as malocclusion, or shifts away from its normal position, the muscles in the jaw, neck, and face can become inflamed. When this happens, the muscles tighten and can no longer function smoothly and effectively. It’s this tightening that makes the jaw lock up.
  • The Jaw. The anatomy of the jaw itself may the reason behind the locking sensation. This joint has a piece of cartilage that separates the jaw bone and the rest of the skull. If this cartilage becomes damaged, usually from grinding, clenching, or an injury, it can slip out of place, causing the jaw to become stuck in place.

Symptoms of a Problem

It’s important to note that not all symptoms are experienced by everyone, and you should see your dentist in Austin for a proper diagnosis. Some additional symptoms besides jaw lock include:

  • Recurring headaches
  • A clicking or popping noise or sensation when opening and closing the mouth
  • Jaw pain that increases when opening the mouth widely, like a yawn

Don’t have a dentist but experiencing jaw lock? We welcome you to call our Austin dental office to schedule an appointment. We’ll evaluate your jaw joint and talk with you about the symptoms you’re having so we’re able to diagnose what’s happening and recommend the best treatment for you.

Accepting patients from Austin, Westlake, Cedar Park.

Background Image