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When You Should Be Worrying about Thumb Sucking

When You Should Be Worrying about Thumb Sucking

Thumb sucking is a perfectly natural habit that many small children find comforting, and they may do this while soothing themselves or to get to sleep. The majority of kids will grow out of this habit on their own, without any intervention, but what should you do if they continue to suck their thumb or fingers beyond what seems to be a reasonable age?

At What Age Does Thumb Sucking Become a Problem?

Most children will stop sucking their thumb between the ages of two and four, before they begin to lose their milk or primary teeth and before their permanent teeth begin to push through the gums. At this stage thumb or finger sucking is generally perfectly harmless, but it can cause problems if it continues beyond this age, and you may need to take action to discourage them. This is because the action does change the shape of the upper jaw, pulling it forwards into a V shape. The upper front teeth can become more protrusive, and this can also increase the risk of injury to these teeth. The lower teeth are affected as well, as the pressure of the thumb resting on the teeth can push them inwards.

Is Their Thumb Sucking Passive or More Intense?

The intensity of their sucking can also be a factor as to whether this habit is harmful. If their thumb sucking is fairly passive, with the thumb just resting in their mouth then this is likely to be far less of an issue compared to kids who suck their thumbs or finger more vigorously as this can cause problems with the way their milk or primary teeth develop.

Your Pediatric Dentist Can Assess Any Damage Caused by Thumb Sucking

If you notice this habit is affecting the development of your child’s primary teeth, then it is worth booking a consultation with Dr. Marina Krepkh, or with another pediatric dentist at the Kids Dentistry Center. A pediatric dentist can easily assess any damage caused by thumb sucking and can recommend the most suitable treatment to correct it.

Early Treatment May Help Correct the Damage

At this stage it is possible that early treatment can correct any issues caused by thumb sucking, using appliances that take advantage of the different stages of growth and development of your child’s jaws. This will help ensure that once the milk teeth are lost, there will be sufficient room for the adult teeth to erupt normally and in the correct positions through realigning the jaws. It is even possible that any problems may correct themselves, provided the habit is broken soon enough.

What Happens If I Can’t Get My Child to Stop Thumb Sucking?

A quick search on the internet will bring up lots of useful ideas as to how to stop thumb sucking, but if these don’t work then ask Dr. Marina Krepkh for help. It is possible for your pediatric dentist to supply special devices that fit behind the upper teeth and which help break the habit. These consist of an arrangement of wires, rings or bars that make it impossible for your child to comfortably suck their thumb, removing the pleasure out of thumb sucking so the habit is quickly broken.


Kids Best Dentist Brooklyn NYC
Dr. Marina Krepkh
7708 4th Avenue 1st floor
Brooklyn, NY 11209 (Bay Ridge)
(718) 491-5300

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