AAO Ragan Orthodontics in Dallas, TX

Breaking the Habit of Thumb Sucking

Babies have a habit of soothing themselves through sucking their thumb. However, if they do not stop this habit early on in life, they can alter the morphology of their teeth and mouth. The alteration may be hard to fix. To help alleviate this problem, you can get a thumb sucking device that prevents your child from placing their thumb in their mouth, thus, inhibiting the feeling of satisfaction that comes with the habit. There are many devices available to prevent thumb sucking, and you can get advice from our experienced orthodontist in Dallas.

Guards and cribs

These are guards made of soft plastic that can be fit either on the mouth or hands of your child to help them desist from their habit. The other option that we may recommend is a guard that fits in the mouth that prevents the thumb from reaching the roof of the mouth. Your child is unable to reach suction while indulging in the habit and, thus, does not get the satisfactory feeling.

At what point do I need to resort to a thumb sucking guard?

Thumb sucking becomes a cause for alarm if your child continues with the habit after four years of age. Most dental problems brought about by thumb sucking will resolve themselves if the thumb sucking stops before the permanent teeth begin to develop. Children below four years typically do not need any dental treatment for issues brought about by thumb sucking, but if your child is still sucking their thumb after their fifth birthday, then the damage that sets in will need intervention by a skilled orthodontist.

What are the signs of damage brought about by thumb sucking?

Thumb sucking has a huge impact on the oral cavity and the teeth. One of the impacts of it is the lack of alignment of front teeth. The front teeth protrude outwards or they do not meet upon closing the mouth. When speaking, the tongue thrusts, and this leads to a lisp when speaking. In case you note any of these signs in your child, you should visit our office.

Prevention is always better (and less expensive) than a cure. At Ragan Orthodontics in Dallas, our orthodontist has decades of experience in the dental health of both children and adults. He can advise you on the best thumb sucking device that meets the needs of your child. Contact us today to book an appointment.