Thumb & Finger Appliances
Thumb sucking can endlessly comfort infants and toddlers, resulting in an unwillingness or inability to stop as they grow older. Unfortunately, if your child continues to suck their thumb or other fingers, their teeth and overall bite could be permanently damaged. Thankfully, thumb and finger appliances from your Cape Coral orthodontist can help them break the habit before damage can occur.
How Thumb and Finger Appliances Work
Thumb and finger appliances, like fixed palatal cribs, attach to the teeth in the upper arch and partially shield the roof of the mouth. By doing that, these oral devices create a barrier between the thumb or fingers and the palate. This effectively blocks the comforting sensation kids get from sucking their thumb or fingers, helping them break the habit once and for all.
The entire process usually takes between three and six months. Breaking the habit can take up to a year for some kids, especially if they’re particularly attached to sucking their thumbs. You can help speed up the treatment by helping your child find other ways to soothe themselves, like hugging a stuffed animal.
Benefits of Breaking the Habit
Helping your child break the habit of thumb- and finger-sucking is crucial in supporting their healthy oral development. If left untreated, these habits can result in misaligned, protruding teeth and an open bite, especially after age four.
Thankfully, as long as it’s done early enough, thumb and finger appliances can halt the issue before any damage occurs. Without the thumb exerting excess pressure, the jaw can develop naturally, and the teeth can erupt in ideal positions.
The excellent development of their oral structures will help them smile confidently, chew all their food easily, and speak clearly. Their self-esteem may soar as they ditch the habit and avoid feeling embarrassed in front of their peers.
If your child doesn’t break the habit until later, fixing their bite and straightening their teeth with orthodontic care may still be possible. Before discussing additional treatment options, you’ll first need to use a thumb and finger appliance to break the habit.
Call to Schedule Your Orthodontics Appointment
If your child sucks their thumb or fingers, you can get help from your orthodontist at Richards & Associates Orthodontics. To schedule your visit, give us a call at 239-936-1808 to reach our Fort Myers clinic or 239-458-2002 for our Cape Coral team.