Office Update - COVID-19

Finger Sucking

Finger Sucking
Posted on 04/04/2016
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BREAKING THE FINGER-SUCKING HABIT

             While young children find finger- and thumb-sucking to be comforting, these habits are usually abandoned between two and four years of age. Beyond that, thumb-sucking can improperly influence the position of erupting “adult” teeth and jaws. At this point, parents should try to break the habit before the upper front teeth flare out and tip upward, the lower front teeth move back and inward, and the bone around the upper and lower front teeth deforms. I have been very successful at using positive reinforcement to “talk the thumb out of the mouth”.  If this is unsuccessful, I can help by placing an orthodontic appliance on the child’s upper teeth known as a “fixed palatal crib.” Consisting of half circles of wires connected to supporting bands that are fastened to the molars, the crib inhibits thumb-sucking.

 Thumb-sucking can give way to a malocclusion known as “an open bite,” which is characterized by a vertical gap between the upper and lower front teeth.  I tell parents that I want to see their children if they still suck their fingers when their first baby tooth is loose (around age 5-6).