Digit Sucking / Thumb Sucking Prevention

Gallatin TN

Digit / finger sucking and or thumb sucking is a habit that sometimes occurs in infants and children that can continue into the teenage years. Most children usually give up digit sucking by the age of four. If the child continues their habits past the age when their permanent teeth begin to erupt, they may alter the natural and intended development which may result in crooked teeth and a malformed roof of their mouth. This results from the frequency, duration, intensity, and position of the digit in the child’s mouth. This can also affect the position of the upper and lower jaw and can also adversely affect their speech.

Simple suggestions to break the habit:

  • Wait till the time is right to suggest altering the habits, think about reducing their stress.
  • Motivate your child to discontinue the habit on their own. Use visual examples of what could happen to their teeth and fingers/thumbs.
  • Use a reward system to include small incentives  that will encourage your child to stick with it.
  • Simply placing a sock over the hand that is used to continue the habit
  • Painting poor-tasting, non-toxic materials over the fingers/thumbs to dissuade the child from continuing the habit. 

Some habits can be more problematic than others. Remember, habits are less problematic if the duration, frequency, or intensity of sucking is low. If a habit can not be broken by simpler methods or if the child simply refuses to break the habit, we have more aggressive treatment methods that can assist you and your child with resolving their habits.

Habit Appliances

If a habit can not be broken we can place a simple intraoral appliance that will discourage or completely prevent a habit from taking place by preventing the child from placing the fingers or thumb into the position that provides them the soothing and comforting effect they are seeking. Remember, if a child is not ready to stop the habit that any treatment is not likely to be effective until they are completely ready. 

zoomBluegrass zoom2Upper Fixed Habit Appliance zoom2Upper Fixed Habit Appliance 2

Please call us at  Children's Dentistry of Gallatin Phone Number 615-461-7491 with any questions or to schedule an appointment.

For more information about Digit Sucking or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Andy, call our office in Gallatin, TN at Children's Dentistry of Gallatin Phone Number 615-461-7491.