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The sight of a child sucking their thumb can make you think, “how innocent and sweet”, but prolonging this habit can create a serious bite problem. The prolonged habit of thumbsucking usually affects the position of the front teeth, making them tilt outward and causing an anterior open bite (where there is space between the upper and lower front teeth, when the back teeth are touching). The negative pressure on the inside of the mouth while sucking increases the pressure from the cheeks causing a posterior crossbite (when the upper back teeth fit on the inside of the lower ones). If thumbsucking persists until the time of eruption of the front permanent teeth) the negative side-effects can be more detrimental.
As a parent, it is important to be mindful of your child’s habits and understand the importance of intercepting if thumbsucking goes beyond the age of five years. What is difficult, however, is to do this without causing daily arguments, and without creating a negative self-image which can happen by calling attention to the habit or shaming the child.
At Beach Braces, we try to help kids overcome a thumbsucking or fingersucking habit on a daily basis. One of the common things we hear from parents is that the child was sucking their thumb even on the ultrasound images during pregnancy. We are mindful of the difficulty of this endeavour, and of the need for extra emotional support that the child has when attempting to do away with the first addiction of their young life. The first approach involves more psychology than orthodontics. Orthodontic intervention is reserved for those who are determined to succeed but unable to carry it through.
The Canadian Association of Orthodontists and the American Association of Orthodontists both recommend a first orthodontic check-up by the age of seven. If your child exhibits signs of thumbsucking before seven years old, you can bring them in sooner! Our office is conveniently located in Scarborough. No referral is necessary. Book your consultation with Dr. Dask today!
– The Beach Braces Team