Friday, October 13, 2017

Consequences of Thumb Sucking

At Ross Orthodontics, we often see children whose parents and primary dentist are concerned about how their teeth are coming in. One of the most frequent problems is an open bite, in which the incisors are pushed outward. This problem can be genetic but is usually caused by thumb sucking.

Many parents may be alarmed to hear this since thumb sucking is such a common behavior. Before the age of five, there is not much to worry about. Very young children’s facial bones have not completely solidified and can bounce back from suction. But once the permanent teeth start coming in, thumb sucking (or sucking on anything else) can permanently push the teeth forward.

Efforts to break the habit work best when the child feels included in solving the problem. However, thumb sucking is sometimes done as a way of relieving chronic stress. In these cases, even if the child does abandon thumb sucking, they may take to thrusting their tongue against their incisors instead, which has the same result. It may be necessary to consult with a child psychologist about fixing this problem. In the meantime, there are orthodontic devices which can discourage pushing the tongue forward.

To learn more about Ross Orthodontics, visit Offices are located in Forest Lake, Minnesota and Hudson, Wisconsin.


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