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Dental and Oral Health (Adults)

Tongue Bites

11/13/2009

Question:

My fiance bit his tongue when he was about 11 years old, he required about 12 stitches inside and out because he happened to have a broken front tooth which severed it badly. He is now 49 and a few days ago he bit it again while chewing and it would not stop bleeding. It bled for four hours, the blood just pulsed out.His tongue turned purple as if he bruised it badly. He became weak and had to lie down with a cloth in his mouth applying pressure. This has happened approximately 7 other times since he was a child. Can anything be done to stop it from happening again. It was very scary and we were away from home and almost went to the ER for assistance.

Answer:

Generally speaking, there are three reasons for repeated tongue bites.

The first is poor tongue control that can occur with some disabilities. The second is that the shape of the tongue has changed due to scarring, tumor or benign swelling. The third is that his teeth are not in the proper position in the mouth.

There is little that can be done with the first case. The second could be helped surgically, but still may not remedy the situation. Many times, the third case is the easiest to fix. Orthodontics and crowns can help prevent the trauma by positioning the teeth in the proper place and idealizing the contour to prevent further trauma.

Evaluation by your dentist should help you decide if this is an option. Thanks for visiting NetWellness.

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Response by:

Daniel Nathan Reed, DDS Daniel Nathan Reed, DDS
Clinical Associate Professor of Primary Care Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University