Braces in Stone Mountain

What you need to know about thumb sucking and pacifiers

As every parent knows, certain habits can be exceptionally comforting for toddlers and children. The simple acts of clutching a teddy bear or a favorite blanket can provide a sense of security and contentment. The same is true for oral habits such as a pacifier, thumb, or finger sucking. However, keep one thing in mind. While these oral habits serve to soothe babies and toddlers, if they persist too long, they can affect a child’s dental and facial development. At our office, we provide the guidance and care required to support the development of aligned, attractive, and well-functioning smiles.

As your child matures and grows

While most toddlers give up a pacifier, thumb or finger sucking habit between two to four years of age, a harmful oral habit that is still present when the permanent teeth come in, increases a child’s risk for developing a bad bite. If by the age of five or six years, your little one is still using a pacifier or sucking a finger, constructive and gentle intervention is needed. It’s also a good idea to get an orthodontic evaluation at this time. During this visit, our orthodontist will examine your little one’s smile and check for any habit related alterations to the alignment of the teeth or jaws. As part of this assessment, we’ll also evaluate soft tissue positions and movements during swallowing, speaking, as well as other aspects of oral function. As indicated, we’ll discuss habit control strategies and make recommendations for either interceptive or future corrective orthodontic care. Our office will also follow your child’s bite and facial development as they grow and keep you apprised of any treatment needs along with a timetable for care.

Compassionate and skilled care

It’s essential to keep in mind that helping your child stop a harmful oral habit requires patience and understanding. Any intervention should be sensitive and constructive as well as involve the full cooperation of your child. Because they are trained and knowledgeable in all aspects of occlusion, facial development, and jaw growth, an orthodontist can provide both the useful guidance and orthodontic therapy that’s needed to keep the growth and development of your child’s smile on track.

At our office, we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of advanced and compassionate orthodontic care. For more information on our office and the many services that we provide, give us a call today.

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