Wednesday, October 26, 2016
THE DENTAL EFFECTS OF THUMB
AND FINGER SUCKING HABITS
It is important as parents to be aware that if your child's thumb or finger sucking habit is still present when their permanent teeth come in, there is a greater chance of developing a bad bite. This means that if the activity has not ceased by the age of five or six years, you need to constructively and gently help your child to stop the habit. It is also a good idea to have an orthodontic evaluation at this time. We can assess if there are any habit related alterations to the alignment of your child's teeth or jaws as well as check for associated changes in the soft tissues. We can also discuss habit control strategies with you and follow your child's bite and facial development as they grow. If there are recommendations for interceptive or future corrective orthodontic care, we will present a timeline for you.
Common orthodontic problems that are caused by pressure on the teeth and mouth as a result prolonged thumb or finger sucking may include upper teeth that protrude, lower teeth that tip back, an open bite, or a posterior crossbite. Furthermore, these habits often affect tongue posture, lip posture, swallowing, and speech.
Although a persistent thumb or finger sucking habit is a cause for concern, there is no reason for alarm. With the appropriate supportive intervention and orthodontic care as needed a healthy and beautiful smile is completely within reach.