Updated: Apr 26
Wisdom teeth can cause a lot of problems but one of interest is when it cuts into your cheek for no apparent reason. Most of the time it is just a minor annoyance but once in a while it can cause a pretty deep cut into your cheek if you bite into it. This article will explain why that happens, what you can do about it, and also how to prevent it.
Table of Contents:
Signs of wisdom teeth cheek biting
The most obvious sign of a wisdom tooth cutting into your cheek is an injury on the inside of your mouth. However, there are a couple of other signs as well.
A white horizontal line on the inside of your cheek.
May be on just one side or it could affect both sides
If it is a deep cut, it may be red in color.
Mostly painless but can be painful if it is a deep cut.
The white line from the biting is called oral frictional hyperkeratosis, which is a fancy word for a callus. Due to repeated biting, the body forms extra keratinized tissue to protect the cheek from injury. The keratinized line is thicker and tougher so that it doesn't get injured.
Severe cheek biting
However, there are instances where the wisdom tooth can cut into the cheeks or bite into it extremely hard that it can form a laceration. This cut is deeper and will be a different color than the typical white. It will show up reddish in color and will be painful as well.
It will look like a small ulcer that is located near your wisdom tooth. It will definitely be painful if you try to touch it with your finger. A little bit of bleeding is not unusual as well.
Alternatively, chronic cheek biting from your impacted wisdom tooth could also cause a different type of hyperkeratosis. This is when the tissue becomes extra keratinized and forms a little bump. It is similar to a callus on your hands.
The hyperkeratosis looks almost like a miniature cauliflower if we had to describe it. The impacted wisdom tooth should definitely be extracted and then that keratotic tissue should also be biopsied. Please do not delay having them removed if you are experiencing this!
What causes the wisdom teeth to cut into the cheeks
There can be a variety of causes which can result in your cheeks getting cut by wisdom teeth. Some of them are out of your control while others just happen accidentally.
Impacted wisdom teeth. Not all wisdom teeth grow out straight because some of them try to erupt in non-ideal directions. If your third molar happens to be trying to grow out towards your cheeks, it will make it more prone to biting your cheek. Inversely, if the wisdom tooth was impacted towards your tongue, you would get zero instances of it cutting into your cheek.
Not enough space. If you have a small mouth and you don't have enough space to accommodate the wisdom teeth, they will be more likely to cut into your cheeks. Your inner cheeks will be squished into the wisdom teeth simply because of a lack of space.
Eating too quickly. Even if you have enough space and your wisdom teeth are not impacted, you may still bite into them accidentally once in awhile. This happens most commonly if you're hungry and eat too quickly. Sometimes you can not only cut your cheeks but also bite your tongue or lips if you're not careful! You should slow down and eat your food.
How to get rid of wisdom teeth cheek biting
The only way to permanently get rid of your wisdom tooth from cutting into your cheeks is by having the tooth extracted. If there is no wisdom tooth, then there will be no cheek biting. It is as simple as that.
However if you insist on keeping the tooth in your mouth, then you will continue to bite into your cheeks. There is no way around it. If that is the case, the most that you can do is to just help alleviate the pain whenever it does cut into your cheeks.
Here are some ways to alleviate the cheek biting pain:
Salt water rinse. The best rinse to use on an injured cheek is a simple salt water rinse. It is very gentle and extremely effective. What you should avoid is any acidic mouth rinse like Listerine or hydrogen peroxide because they can irritate the wound.
Avoid acidic and spicy foods. If you have a severe cut from your third molar biting into your cheeks, you should not eat anything that is too acidic or spicy. Those types of foods can definitely cause irritation if not pain when they touch the injury.
Pain medication. If it does happen to be extremely painful, some acetaminophen and ibuprofen can also help to alleviate some of the pain.
Ways to prevent the third molars from cutting into your cheeks
Aside from having the wisdom teeth extracted, there really isn't any other way to prevent the cheek biting from happening. The most that you can do is try your best to chew as slowly as possible. Repeated cheek biting tends to happen when you eat too quickly and carelessly.
Your wisdom teeth can certainly cause cuts and injuries in your mouth whenever they bite into your cheeks. Not all third molars will do this but the ones which are impacted and poorly angulated are more prone to doing so. It is also more likely if you don't have enough space in your mouth for them.
Usually if you have persistent cheek biting from your wisdom teeth, it is a sign that you should have them removed. So, what are you waiting for you should schedule a consultation with your dentist and have those wisdom teeth removed from your mouth!