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Thumb-Sucking – Richardson, TX

Protecting Developing Smiles from Future Problems

Thumb-sucking is a completely natural and common habit for infants that helps them feel safe, protected, and soothed. While this habit is common and great for babies to help them sleep through the night so you can finally get some shut-eye, it’s not as beneficial and harmless for them as they begin to age and their oral cavity develops. If they’re still sucking on a pacifier or their thumb around the age of four, it could result in them requiring invasive orthodontic procedure as a child and teen. Your pediatric dentist in Richardson, Dr. Jones and Dr. Hanson, offer customized treatment to make sure that your child doesn’t suffer from future complications due to their habit.

Why Choose Richardson Orthodontics For Thumb-Sucking Habits? 

  • Board-Certified Orthodontist Who Treats Children
  • Proud Mother of 2 Children Who Understands Young Patients
  • Nearly 2 Decades of Experience

What Issues Can Arise from Thumb-Sucking?

young child holding a stuffed animal and sucking on a pacifier

As your child sucks their thumb or fingers, the pressure and suction of the motion will gradually alter how their teeth erupt and the shape of their oral cavity, including the roof of their mouth. This can cause a variety of problems that will be more noticeable when they get a little older and all of their teeth have grown in, including:

  • Misaligned teeth
  • Protruding front teeth
  • Uneven upper and lower jawbones
  • Malformation of the roof of their mouth
  • Overbite

In addition to these orthodontic problems, thumb-sucking can be harmful for a number of other reasons, including the development of speech problems and the introduction of harmful germs and bacteria into your child’s body.

Should You Discourage Thumb-Sucking?

a child holding a model of a mouth up to their face

An estimated 94% of children naturally stop sucking their thumbs by the time they turn one. However, that’s not always the case. If your child is still young, letting them suck on their thumb is completely fine. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends trying to encourage them to break the habit by the time their front teeth begin growing in, because the suction from the habit can cause them to develop protruding teeth or a bite misalignment.

The Key to Stopping Thumb-Sucking

a baby sucking on their thumb

If you’re concerned about your child’s thumb or pacifier-sucking habits, be sure to schedule an appointment with a professional like Dr. Jones, your orthodontist in Richardson. Our team at Richardson Orthodontics can examine your child’s oral cavity and provide you with helpful advice on how to stop the habit. Some of the methods that we recommend parents try include:

  • Positive reactions and praise when your child doesn’t suck their thumb.
  • Help your child find a healthier way to soothe themselves when they’re feeling anxious.
  • Stay positive and continue encouraging your child to break the habit.

If you have any additional questions about your infant or child’s oral health, we welcome you to ask them at your appointment!