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If your child sucks fingers or thumbs or has other negative oral habits, we can help. These types of habits can often cause damage to their oral growth and development, and by correcting these habits early we can also help your child avoid the need for more extensive orthodontic treatment in the future.

Thumb & Finger Sucking Habits

Thumb and finger sucking is normal in children under the age of 4, and most children will stop on their own between ages 2 and 4. However, if they continue to suck their thumbs or fingers beyond this point it can cause significant damage to teh alignment of their teeth and jaw, including problems such as open bites, crossbites and horizontal overlaps of the front teeth, and problems with speech.

Similarly, constant pressure of the tongue against the teeth (also known as a tongue-thrust) when swallowing, speaking and at rest can force teeth and arches out of alignment.

Habit Correction Appliances

There are a number of oral appliances our orthodontist may recommend to help break finger sucking and tongue thrusting habits. Thumb sucking appliances are often effective in discouraging sucking, while tongue thrust appliances usually involve a type of “physical therapy” to help retrain the muscles of the tongue. Our pediatric dentists and orthodontist will work closely with you to determine the right option for your children so they can develop better habits and enjoy the benefits of a healthy smile.

We may also recommend simple things you can try at home to break bad oral habits, such as putting a glove or a sock over your child’s hand or creating diversions at times when they usually suck their fingers. They may also suck their fingers due to anxiety and might stop if the source of their anxiety is found and appropriately managed or soothed.

Schedule An Appointment

To make an appointment with Dr. Emily Schadt and learn more about habit correcting appliances in New City, New York, contact Rockland Pediatric Dental and Orthodontics at 845-634-8900.

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