Much ADO about thumb sucking

15 June, 2015

It may seem harmless, but a toddler’s habit of thumb sucking can cause several dental deformities later on. We have seen several patients who had dental problems like an open bite, protruding upper anterior teeth or leaning lower anterior teeth, as well as speech problems.

While intervention is not imperative, it is important to know that the habit may cause problems. If the bad habit continues until your child experiences a growth spurt, easing the habit out should be a priority.

A Dangerous Habit to Keep

Most children stop thumb sucking by age three, but if the bad habit keeps on way beyond this year, it’s time to break it. In most cases, the child can abandon the habit and problems with the bite can self-correct. In cases where the problem is not corrected early, thumb sucking significantly affects the child’s teeth, gums, jaws, and sometimes, even facial form and speech.

Risks and Consequences

The habit can damage the teeth and cause abnormal alignment, known as a malocclusion. It’s possible that malocclusions can self-correct if the child stops, but extreme cases may call for dental work. A more noticeable consequence of thumb sucking is buck teeth, which happens due to the pressure of the thumb pushing the top teeth away from each other. This can even cause the child to develop a lisp.

Breaking the Habit

Helping your child break the habit is crucial, but it should not be abrupt. Consult with your trusted orthodontist to discuss which habit-breaking method will fit your child’s unique situation best. Methods range from painting the thumb with an unpleasant tasting substance to having them wear gloves or socks in their hands, to functional appliances or oral units and actual orthodontic treatments.

Orthodontic Solutions

Solutions and options are wide and varied. Solas Orthodontics can help improve and correct the damage caused by the bad habit. We provide early interceptive braces, which help with correcting malocclusions, bad bites, and crooked teeth. After a thorough consultation with us, we can tailor a solution that best fits your child’s situation.

Book an appointment today and we will find the best way to break your child’s bad habit.