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Thumb Sucking – Huntington, NY

Protect Your Child’s Smile from Thumb Sucking

baby sucking thumb

Thumb sucking is a common habit for infants. The self-soothing technique helps them fall back to sleep on their own. In fact, research shows infants who suck their thumb tend to sleep through the night earlier than those who don’t. While the cute habit has its benefits, if it lasts past 4 to 5 years of age it can cause serious consequences for your child’s oral development. At Huntington Orthodontics, Dr. Justyna offers customized solutions to treat the complications of prolonged thumb sucking in Huntington. She will give your child the foundation they need for a healthy, beautiful smile.

Should I Discourage Thumb Sucking?

toddler sucking thumb

Approximately 90% of infants start a form of hand sucking within the first 2 hours after birth. Generally, the self-soothing habit is not concerning because 94% of children stop on their own before their first birthday. Those who don’t stop by then usually break the habit between 2 and 4 years of age. Thumb sucking does not become an issue unless it continues past their 4th or 5th birthday.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says parents should not be concerned about thumb sucking until after their baby’s front teeth have erupted. If the habit continues, it can lead to their front teeth protruding or malocclusion issues, such as an open bite. The intensity and frequency of your child sucking habit can impact the proper growth of their mouth, such as changes in the roof of their mouth.

Can the Consequences of Thumb Sucking be Reversed?

young girl at dentist

If your child has developed bite and alignment problems from thumb sucking, an orthodontist in Huntington can restore a harmonious smile. Phase 1 orthodontics provides early intervention that can include the use of partial braces to move the teeth into a more ideal position. This lessens the need for more extensive treatments as they age.

There are also orthodontic appliances that can be used to help discourage your child from sucking their thumb. The wire device is placed behind the upper front teeth to prevent the thumb from being placed onto the palate.

Dr. Justyna creates a customized treatment plan based on your child’s individual needs to protect their smile.

How Can I Stop Thumb Sucking?

If you are concerned about your child’s sucking habit, discuss it with Dr. Justyna during their next routine appointment. In addition, there are several things you can do at home to help discourage it, including:

  • Praise your child for not sucking. Research shows punishing them for it may cause them to do it longer.
  • Help your child find another way to self-soothe when feeling anxious or insecure.
  • Stay positive and encourage your child to break the habit.

Schedule a Consultation

If you are concerned about your child’s habit of sucking their thumb or fingers, Dr. Justyna can help. She provides the compassionate and individualized care young children need to grow into healthy, confident smiles. Contact Huntington Orthodontics today to schedule a consultation.