Childrens Orthodontics and Thumb Sucking

OrthodonticsMany babies will suck on their thumb which could cause the need for orthodontics in the future.  It is fairly normal for babies to either suck their thumb or use a pacifier in order for them to self-sooth. It is best to not encourage this habit whenever possible, but it tends to form naturally. The challenge is that once children start to suck their thumb, the habit can be hard to break.  While the average child may stop by around the age of four, many go much longer.

In orthodontics, we treat children and adults and help them to have a beautiful smile.  We also provide advice and guidance on things that can be done proactively to make braces unnecessary or to decrease how long a patient will need to wear them.  One tip we commonly give to parents is to have their child stop sucking their thumb as soon as possible.

There are several ways to address the issue with your child, and these tips should be used in light of how old and mature they are.  The first step to take is simply to let your child know that they should not suck their thumb anymore and give them reminders to stop when you notice them doing it.  You can also distract them with other things to keep them occupied.  This habit can occur when children are bored or zoning out watching television.  Give them a cup of water instead or an activity to do.  For example, they can color during their favorite cartoon instead of simply sitting on the couch.

If your child is older than four and still sucking their thumb, you may want to apply something that makes the thumb taste bad like liquid soap.  Some children have success by sitting on their hands to prevent them from being tempted.  Rewards can also be helpful so try giving them a special sticker when they go a day without their thumb.

The Risks of Thumb Sucking

As a provider of children's orthodontics, we commonly treat kids that have sucked their thumb for years and as a result have issues that need to be corrected.  For example, an overbite can develop where the top teeth protrude past the lower ones.  A crossbite may also occur where teeth shift to the side or may go inside of the lower ones.  An open bite is also fairly common and in this case, there is a small or large gap between the upper and lower teeth when a child bites down.  All of these conditions can make it more difficult to eat and speak in addition to impacting a child's appearance.

If your child needs braces, we will provide superior care that can straighten their teeth and align their jaw.  If you can get them to stop sucking their thumb early, you may be able to decrease the amount of time they will spend wearing braces in the future.  In order to learn more call today.

Recent Posts

5 Tips And Tricks To Motivate Your Child For Brushing Teeth

Motivating a child to brush his or her teeth on a regular basis can be harder than it sounds. For a variety of reasons from a short attention span to sheer boredom, children will not be willing to stand still and clean their teeth twice a day. Fortunately, there are a few tips and tricks…

Tips From A Leawood Dentist For Kids On How To Care For Developing Teeth

As a Leawood dentist for kids, we have learned how to treat the developing teeth of children. Our training and expertise allow us to provide the ultimate, all-inclusive care for infants and adolescents. A dentist for kids is also a great option to consider when you have a child or teen with special health needs.…

Why We Are The Best Pediatric Dentist

As a local pediatric dentist in Leawood, we understand how critical the oral health of your child today is to their entire future. Most parents are very concerned about the health of their children, and that is why it is rare to find a parent who does not take their child in to see the…

What You Can Expect From Our Family Dentistry Office

In our family dentistry office, our goal is to keep you, our patient, in the best possible oral health. We do this by examining and cleaning your teeth on a regular basis. We would prefer to do so twice a year but at a minimum, once a year. This way we can identify small health…

Recent Posts

Muscle Relaxers And Physical Therapy For TMJ Disorders

Muscle Relaxers And Physical Therapy For TMJ Disorders

If you notice pain in your jaw, you may be dealing with one of the many types of TMJ disorders. This condition may cause spasms of the facial muscles and clicking or popping sounds in the jaw. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders typically make eating and talking painful or difficult. The dentist may recommend different treatments…

Surgical TMJ Treatment

Surgical TMJ Treatment

TMJ is a fairly common issue, though the level of severity varies. Of course, many TMJ complications can be treated without the need for surgery. When less invasive treatment procedures fail, however, surgical TMJ treatment might be required to relieve the symptoms. It is helpful to understand more about surgical TMJ treatment and when it might…