Thumb sucking is an extremely common habit of small children that usually goes away by around age five. However, children who are slow to break their thumb-sucking habit are more likely to develop problems with chewing and speech. The team at My Orthodontist understands thumb sucking is a natural response to stress but can help your child break the habit and avoid future complications. Make an appointment at one of the nine convenient locations in Deptford Township, Lawrenceville, Medford, Bayonne, West New York, West Orange, Cherry Hill, Paterson, New Jersey, and Langhorne, Pennsylvania, or use the online booking tool today.
What are habit appliances?
Habit appliances are devices used to correct bad habits in children like thumb sucking and lip sucking. They can also be used as a trainer for tongue placement when you’re at rest or swallowing.
Habit appliances can help stop your child from forming habits that can lead to misalignment and other tooth and jaw problems in the future.
Why might my child need a habit appliance?
When your child forcefully sucks their thumb, it makes their front teeth move and can even cause their jawbones to change shape. You may notice the upper set of teeth flare out and upward, while the lower set moves inward.
Children’s jaws are low in mineral content such as calcium which makes them soft and flexible. As a result, if bad oral habits like thumb sucking last beyond a certain age, they can lead to complications with their developing and erupting teeth and the surrounding tissues.
Some of these complications include:
- Flared teeth
- An open bite
- Delayed arrival of front teeth
- Chewing difficulties
- Speech abnormalities
- Unattractive smiles
Some children can overcome thumb sucking on their own, but if the habit is a problem for your child, you can get professional help at My Orthodontist.
What types of habit appliances can help?
A team member at My Orthodontist first assesses the habit that’s causing harm and determines the extent of the disorder.
If your child sucks their thumb, your orthodontist can suggest an appliance that attaches behind their upper teeth. This prevents your child’s thumb from reaching the roof of their mouth and reduces the pleasure from sucking their fingers. Without the satisfaction that usually comes from sucking their thumb or lip, the habit begins to die away, and over time the device can be removed.
If your child suffers from a tongue thrusting habit, your orthodontist can suggest an appliance that specifically blocks their tongue from thrusting and reduces the satisfaction they get from that habit. They derive less pleasure from the habit, and after a while, the need to thrust their tongue disappears.
If your child has thumb-sucking or tongue-thrusting habits that carry on past the usual age, get professional help at My Orthodontist. Call the office or use the online scheduling tool to make your appointment today.