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Factitious Habits / Improper Use of Teeth

Factitious habits: chipped teeth caused by chewing paper clips and pen caps.

Factitious habits: Chipping of the teeth caused by chewing on paper clips, pen caps and other rigid objects.

Using teeth for purposes other than chewing food is known as a factitious habit (parafunction habit). Examples include biting fingernails, trimming fishing line, chewing ice or popcorn kernels, and resting the front teeth on sewing needles, bobby pins or nails. Factitious habits cause chipping or cracking of the teeth. The consequences can range from minor to severe. Factitious habits have also been associated with certain psychological disorders, in which trauma to the gums (gingiva) and other oral soft tissues resulted.

Virgin (unfilled) tooth fractured to bone level by a popcorn kernel.

A factitious habit of chewing popcorn kernels finally caught up to this patient. Note that the fractured tooth had no decay and had never been filled.

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Author: Thomas J. Greany, D.D.S. / Editor: Ken Lambrecht

This page was last updated on March 2, 2018.

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