AAO Ragan Orthodontics in Dallas, TX

Is a Thumb Sucking Guard Necessary for Your Child?

It is natural and normal for your baby to self-soothe by sucking their thumb. Sadly, your child might not lose the habit as they grow up. And that’s when a thumb sucking guard can come in handy.

How does a thumb sucking guard work?

As the name suggests, a thumb sucking guard will prevent your child from putting a thumb in their mouth because it hinders the satisfying feeling associated with it. You are probably wondering when you should consider a thumb sucking guard for your kid. Usually, children that are below the age of four don’t need a thumb sucking guard. Their dental problems tend to correct themselves when the child gives up the habit. However, if your child is thumb sucking past their fourth birthday, you may want to consider a thumb sucking guard.

The importance of a thumb sucking guard

Thumb sucking can alter the shape of your child’s mouth and teeth. Some of these effects can be long-term and difficult to fix. That is why it is important to stop this habit before the growth of permanent teeth. Here are some of the reasons why a thumb sucking guard is necessary:

• Prevents the appearance of front teeth that stick out – Your child’s jaws are relatively soft and flexible, especially when they are under the age of five. So, it isn’t really hard for the constant pressure of a thumb or a finger to distort the shape of the soft bone of their front teeth.

• Allows room for growth of your child’s teeth – Normally, your child’s jaws are rich in blood supply and they grow rapidly, but thumb sucking can result in delayed eruption. If your child is a vigorous thumb sucker, it is more than likely that it will affect the growth of his/her teeth and jaws. Eventually, the improper growth of your child’s teeth will interfere with speaking.

• Avoids teeth that don’t meet when your child’s mouth is closed – The upper teeth should overlap the bottom teeth. In the case of a child that is a thumb sucker, there will be a gap where the tongue rests, moves and thrusts forward when they swallow. This gap will cause teeth that don’t meet when your child’s mouth is closed.

Get started

You should consider visiting Ragan Orthodontics in Dallas if you see changes in your child’s mouth or the way their teeth are lined up. With guidance from our orthodontist and his team in Dallas, you can be confident that your child will stop this habit. Contact us today to book an appointment and learn more.