AAO Ragan Orthodontics in Dallas, TX

How Braces Can Help After Thumb Sucking

Many young children often suck on thumbs or other fingers for various reasons. This natural habit develops immediately after toddlers stop using pacifiers, weaning or drinking milk from baby bottles. As the milk teeth begin to develop, they can get pushed around by the tongue, fingers and other foreign objects that are inserted into the mouth. Additionally, the gums and jaw bones are very flexible and responsive to external forces. The long-term consequence of thumb sucking includes a malocclusion, which refers to the misalignment of teeth. An open bite is the most common problem that is caused by such a habit. This type of condition requires professional orthodontic treatment.

Breaking the Habit of Thumb Sucking

A thumb crib is a type of orthodontic device that’s designed to stop kids from sucking on thumbs. This is a small appliance that is anchored to the back of the molars. Multiple metal wires and hooks run along the roof of the mouth in order to discourage the insertion of anything other than food. The hardware essentially makes thumb sucking very uncomfortable. Additionally, a crib can break the habit of chewing on rubber erasers, pencils and other items that are not edible.

Traditional Braces

A child who has an open bite may need conventional orthodontic braces, which are installed on the front of the teeth. A special cement is utilized to bond metal brackets with the enamel. Arch wires are then carefully inserted into all of the brackets. Coil springs, bands and elastic ligatures are some other components that are part of classic braces. All of these parts work in sync to apply tension and pressure to the teeth and gums.

A severe case of an open bite might require some type of oral surgery. This procedure focuses on the manipulation of the upper and lower jaw bones. It may take a few months for the jaw to fully heal from a maxillofacial surgery. However, only teenagers and young adults are good candidates for such a complicated process. Young kids with severe forms of malocclusion need to wait to get a proper jaw surgery and then wear braces.
Schedule a Consultation for Your Little One

At Ragan Orthodontics in Dallas, our orthodontist offers treatments for thumb sucking, as well as treatments like braces and Invisalign® that can correct problems caused by thumb sucking. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn more!