Cranial Maxillofac Trauma Reconstruction
DOI: 10.1055/s-0037-1606300
Technical Note
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

A Novel Approach for the Management and Prevention of Self-Induced Masticatory Lingual Trauma in the Neurologically Injured Patient

Yash Avashia1, Peter Bittar2, Visakha Suresh2, David B. Powers1
  • 1Division of Plastic, Reconstructive, Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery, Department of Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina
  • 2Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, North Carolina
Further Information

Publication History

03 April 2017

30 May 2017

Publication Date:
19 September 2017 (eFirst)


Self-induced masticatory trauma is an unfortunate complication of a variety of neurologic disorders, including epileptic seizures, cerebral palsy, mental retardation, psychiatric disease, and brain trauma, in addition to other described etiologies. While single or occasional occurrences of tongue biting are relatively benign, recurrent self-injury can pose major issues and predispose a patient to chronic, severe complications. To prevent the complications associated with ongoing trauma to the tongue, steps must be taken to protect individuals from chronic self-injurious behavior. Often, these interventions cause significant morbidity to the patient, such as elective removal of the dentition or complications in gaining access to the oral cavity/airway associated with maxillomandibular fixation. In the neurologically impaired patient, immobilization of the jaws is frequently associated with higher rates of agitation, aspiration, or development of complicating infections of the gingival tissues. We report a case of self-induced masticatory trauma managed with the fabrication of a custom-fabricated oral appliance. This treatment modality successfully prevents the recurrence or incidence of self-induced masticatory trauma to the tongue. The benefits of this modality are that it allows access to the oral cavity, prevents immobilization of the jaws, has minimal to no morbidity, and is completely reversible.