THUMB SUCKING/BREAKING APPLIANCES

While thumb sucking in babies and very young children is not a concern, if this habit continues after the eruption of adult teeth, it can lead to serious dental and speech problems.


Why does my child suck his thumb?

Thumb sucking in babies and young children is a normal self-soothing behaviour.

Thumb sucking in very young children is not a concern since most children outgrow this habit during the preschool years. 

If thumb sucking continues after the eruption of adult teeth, however, it can lead to serious dental and speech problems. If thumb sucking continues into the school-age years, children may encounter social problems with peers who have stopped sucking their thumbs.

How can thumb sucking cause dental problems?

Thumb sucking can cause your child’s teeth to become improperly aligned or push teeth outward and can also cause malformation in the upper palate (the roof of the mouth).

How can I help my child to stop sucking his thumb?

Our caring dental team has many years of experience assisting parents in helping their children stop sucking their thumbs.

We understand how difficult it can be when despite your ongoing efforts to stop the thumb sucking behaviour, your child will not stop. In these cases, we often recommend creating a dental appliance, which is cemented behind your child’s front teeth to discourage thumb sucking.

The appliance is not uncomfortable, but it makes the act of thumb sucking less enjoyable, thus discouraging the behaviour.

Is a thumb-sucking appliance right for my child?

If your child continues to suck his thumb after he begins to get his adult teeth, contact our helpful team to schedule an appointment. We will assess your child and make some recommendations for treatment.

What can I do at home to help my child stop sucking his thumb?

If you suspect your child is sucking his thumb for comfort, you can focus on the cause of his anxiety and provide comfort. If you suspect your child is sucking his thumb due to boredom, distract him with activities. Above all else, notice and praise him when he is not sucking his thumb!

If you have any questions about thumb sucking, or any other dental issue, please contact our caring team at Park Lawn Dental in Etobicoke.


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