Thumb or Finger Sucking For Non-nutrition Purposes:
What can you do and when should you begin? A article published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, states that “the ideal age for discontinuation of nonnutritive sucking habits may be around 24 months of age”. Sucking habits continued beyond the age of 24 months may result in increased risk of developing a (crossbite) narrowed top jaw and protrusive/bucked baby teeth. If a child’s habit persists beyond 48 months of age, “professional assistance in habit discontinuation may be warranted to minimize the risk of developing malocclusion”. Your child must actively participate in controlling their destiny. As a parent, try to avoid scolding your child about their habit. It is better to praise them when they are not sucking.
It is important to stop thumb or finger sucking habits as soon as possible after the age of 24 months.
Prolonged finger or pacifier habits can permanently alter the position of the teeth, jaws, roof of the mouth and tongue. The sucking of the cheeks inward around the finger, squeezes the upper jaw and makes the jaw abnormally narrow. The presence of the finger between the front teeth prevents the upper and lower front teeth from growing towards each other. The tongue often thrusts itself forward into the vertical space between the front teeth making this hole or open bite larger. Prolonged pacifier habits are associated with the development of posterior crossbites while prolonged finger habits are associated with bucked teeth. More children have trouble stopping finger sucking than pacifier sucking.
Intensity of the sucking is also a factor. Children who rest their thumbs passively in their mouths are less likely to have difficulty than those who vigorously suck their thumbs.
Here is an approach. Stop the night time sucking first because these long hours of sucking do the most damage; then work on daytime sucking.
Buy a LONG sleeve tee shirt that has a sleeve so long that it extends beyond the tips of your child’s fingers fully extended. Sew the cuff closed beyond the finger tips and have your child wear this long sleeve tee to bed as a pajama top. This method covers the fingers and is much more effective than mitts or gloves that are easier to take off.
For daytime sucking, place two strips of the 1/2 inch wide adhesive tape around the sucked finger on either side of the finger joint, creating tape donuts on either side of the joint. When your child puts their finger in their mouth, ask “How does it feel?”. Your child should tell you that the bulk of the tape donuts makes their finger feel very different. This tape reminder can be accentuated by painting the tape with foul tasting “Thum” medicine.
For TV time suckers, make a removable finger splint out of adhesive tape and two popsicle sticks. Place the splint on the TV and instruct your child to place the splint on their finger before they turn on the TV. They can remove the splint when they stop watching the TV.
Have your child make a chart. Your child will place a star on the chart if they did not suck their finger during the previous 24 hours. When a goal of 21 stars accumulate in a row, give your child a mutually agreed upon reward.
This program will replace the satisfaction of sucking with the child’s increased sense of accomplishment and self-esteem. Occasionally, a child who has stopped sucking may return to the habit. Just reinstitute the program and realize that this can happen with any long term habit.
Orthodontic treatment does not have to be an exercise in frustration and angst for our patients. We want to make sure you know what is going on every step of the way—which is just one more element of our signature Southern hospitality. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends checking for early intervention by the time a child is seven. No referral from your general dentist is necessary. In fact, some general dentists may be unaware of the early signs of dental “malocclusions” or the tooth and jaw relationship that should be addressed by an orthodontist.
We offer early intervention services like exams for crowding, skeletal growth, and looking for teeth that are not coming in appropriately. We sometimes use palatal expanders, which are a plastic or metal device that fits to the roof of a child’s mouth and gradually makes more room for adult teeth. However, when it’s possible, we do prefer to wait to treat patients until all their adult teeth have erupted, between the ages of twelve and thirteen. There are myriad benefits to waiting, among them fewer missed school days; lower incidence of patient–and parent–burnout; and more mature patients means better oral hygiene, and longer-lasting results with less cost but all the while still having the growth of the jaws that can be utilized in the pre-teen and teen years.
According to research from top tier Universities such as University of North Carolina, University of Florida, and University of Manchester, early intervention orthodontic treatment is not as beneficial for children as was assumed. In other words, for many problems there is no harm in waiting until teeth have come in. Together you, your child and the orthodontist can determine what is best for your child in any of these situations:
Habits like thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, or mouth breathing.
Problems with baby teeth–early loss or late arrival.
Upper front teeth that stick out may be more prone to injury or trauma.
Crowding of front or back teeth
Difficulty with chewing or biting.
Crossbite of the front or back teeth–this may cause asymmetric growth in the jaws, bone and gum loss of certain teeth that may be in crossbite, or an embarrassing appearance.
COOPERATION: We are all going the same way. Traveling together and helping each other makes the trip quicker, easier and more enjoyable. Daily cooperation in testing for loose bands (gently tugging each band to see if it moves on the tooth), wearing elastics and brushing cannot be overemphasized.
If cooperation is poor, we reserve the right to suspend treatment or to charge for additional treatment time required. Hopefully, this will not be needed.
APPOINTMENTS: Banding appointments of three quarters of an hour or more must be scheduled during school time. Routine adjustments will be set up after school whenever possible. If unable to keep an appointment, please notify us well in advance so that we may reschedule the appointment.
APPLIANCES: If an orthodontic appliance or wire should become loose or broken, please notify us as soon as possible to schedule an appointment to correct the problem. After five (5) incidents of loose or broken fixed appliances, (braces) a supplementary charge will be incurred for each dislodged appliance. Lost or broken removable appliances will incur supplementary repair or replacement fees.
Bring headgear, retainers and positioners to every appointment.
Avoid eating foods such as, nuts, hard candy, whole apples, popcorn, taffy, corn-on-the-cob, licorice, hard crusts, etc.
ELASTICS: (rubber bands) These are to be worn exactly as directed. Their action is greatest when eating. They may be removed when brushing the teeth. Replace the elastics with fresh ones once a day. If elastics are lost or if the supply runs low, contact our office for an additional supply.
HEADGEAR: This appliance is designed to be worn as much as possible. It must be worn a minimum of fourteen (14) hours a day while reading, watching television, doing homework, etc., and when sleeping. It may be removed for meals and sports.
ORAL HYGIENE: Teeth should be brushed after every meal and before bed. Elastics should be removed to aid in this process, and be replaced after rinsing with water. Use of disclosing tablets and water squirting machines is encouraged.
IF AT ANY TIME DURING TREATMENT YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR WISH TO DISCUSS PROGRESS, FEEL FREE TO ASK.
We use cosmetic dentistry for children to boost your loved one’s self-image. If your child is concerned about the impact that their smile has on the world, please turn to our practice for assistance. We provide cosmetic dentistry for children. Please call us today for more information about all the cosmetic dentistry services we can offer!
Cosmetic Dentistry for Children
We are ready to help boost your child’s self-image and smile with cosmetic dentistry for children procedures, and we will want to sit down with you and your child and discuss treatment plans. Our Pediatric Dentistry team needs to understand what your expectations and desires for cosmetic dentistry for children care are, and we’ll explain which techniques will be right for your child.
If your child is concerned about discoloration or stains on their enamel, ask us about teeth whitening for adolescents. We can use this method for patients who are preteens and teenagers. Teeth whitening is performed at home by wearing custom-fitting trays with prescription-strength whitening gel that we will provide. Regular use of the whitening trays can create long-lasting results in as little as two weeks. Please contact our office to schedule a cosmetic dentistry for children appointment.
Children are very recreational and active. This can sometimes lead to dental accidents. If your child has injured a tooth, consult with our Pediatric Dentistry staff about cosmetic dentistry solutions tailored to your child.
For minor dental damage, our cosmetic dentistry staff can use cosmetic bonding and shaping. We will shade a tooth-colored composite to match your child’s smile and use it to fill in injured teeth. This will create the look of a new, undamaged tooth. This is the most simple and popular cosmetic dentistry for children method.
Please call us to schedule a cosmetic dentistry for children visit.
There are a lot of ways children can hurt their teeth. Besides cavities, teeth can be chipped during accidents. Our practice has experience treating patients with crowns and fillings for children. Our team would like to help your child or teenager restore their teeth and enjoy smiling again. Please contact our practice today to schedule a crowns and fillings for children appointment.
We can use crowns and fillings for children to repair teeth when necessary. If your child’s smile has been affected by decay, we’ll most likely be able to use these cosmetic services to return full form and functionality to teeth. It will depend on how deep the cavity or tooth fracture is to determine whether the Pediatric Dentistry team will utilize a dental crown or a simple filling.
Ask about crowns and fillings for children today!
Most children enjoy sugary snacks and occasionally we do find cavities. Fillings are the most common method of repairing cavities in our practice. When a cavity affects a tooth, we will need to drill away the damaged area and cleanse the area. We use a filling to then restore the structure of the tooth.
A dental crown covers a tooth and prevents it from breaking down further. It may be necessary to place a crown if a large part of the tooth has been affected by harmful dental decay, and the existing tooth is still years from the time it should fall out. Our Pediatric Dentistry often uses crowns to fix broken teeth.
Besides white fillings and traditional metal crowns, we have white crowns for your child as well. We recommend natural-colored crowns and fillings for children if the altered tooth is a permanent one, especially if the tooth will be visible to peers. We will provide metal-free crowns and fillings for children to prevent your child’s teeth from appearing patchy or mismatched.
We’re happy to use crowns and fillings for children to repair your loved one’s smile. If you would like to see a Pediatric Dentist during your child’s time of need, please call us today to schedule a visit.