Digit sucking is a habit that occurs in infants. In most children, thumb sucking stops on its own between the ages of two and four years. But if the practice persists, it can change the growth patterns of the jaw. If the child continues past the age when their permanent teeth start to erupt, they may develop misaligned teeth and a malformed roof of their mouth. This depends on the frequency, duration, intensity, and position of the digit in the child’s mouth. Thumb sucking can also affect the position of the upper and lower jaw and can also affect speech.

Thumb sucking can be a difficult habit to break. Through the years, parents have tried a variety of home remedies, sometimes it works, however in other cases, it can be very difficult to control.

If your child has a thumb or finger sucking habit and you’ve been unable to tame it, then it may be time for you to visit our office. At Lawrenceville pediatric dentistry, we will consider treating your child with a “habit appliance” such as a fixed palatal crib or a removable device. This crib is a small appliance worn inside the mouth, attached to the upper teeth. The appliance keeps the thumb or finger from touching the gums behind the front teeth. By preventing this contact, it seems to take all the enjoyment away from the thumb sucking habit and child has no reason to continue the behavior. In fact, the device is often successful the first day it’s worn.