All the team at Tooth Co Orthodontics wish you a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

Smales Farm Ortho and Eastridge Ortho are closed for the Xmas break from the 21st December and our normal hours resume on the 9th of January. You can still book appointments online for new patients in 2023. In the unlikely event that you have an orthodontic emergency during the Xmas period our dental clinics at Smales Farm and Eastridge are open 9am – 4pm. If you need to book an appointment you can call Smales Farm on 094109971 or Eastridge on 095212021. Have a safe holiday and see you next year.


Thumbsucking Treatment

Why does thumbsucking need treatment?

The habit of sucking the thumb is fairly common among babies and young children. We know that babies instinctively put anything in their mouth until they are around four months old, but thumbsucking is more like a self-soothing behaviour that may persist in some children.

It is true that many children simply grow out of the habit of thumb (or finger) sucking, but there are those who don’t. Persisting thumbsucking can have many negative effects on the mouth and teeth. This is due to the repetitive pressure placed by the thumb and sucking on the teeth, jawbone, and roof of the mouth. There are several  problems that may result from it:

  • Upper teeth sticking out and tilting of the bottom teeth inward
  • Crossbite, when a single tooth or multiple teeth don’t bite together properly
  • Open bite, when the bottom and top teeth do not meet when closed
  • Changes in jaw shape, which affects the alignment of teeth and speech patterns, like lisps
  • Sensitivity of the roof of the mouth

Although thumb sucking is not the only contributing factor to these conditions developing, it’s important to address it appropriately if it is. If the habit persists and is affecting the child’s teeth, it may be time to seek an early orthodontic assessment.

How is thumbsucking treatment done?

Early orthodontic intervention can be very beneficial (and could even be necessary) for a child’s mental and emotional well-being if the thumbsucking habit is present.

When necessary, and if the child is old enough to wear mouth appliances, Dr Tania Hetz may prescribe a custom-made habit-breaking appliance that makes it hard for the child to put their thumb/finger in their mouth. This may be a thumb crib or an expander with a thumb crib that facilitates spontaneous correction of the teeth. 

In other circumstances, if a child’s front teeth protrude, they may benefit from a plate that gently pull the teeth back and also prevent bullying as well as trauma to the front teeth that are sticking out.

If you have concerns about your child’s thumbsucking habit, speak to our specialist orthodontist. We can tell you if the habit has caused long-term problems and assess the chances of more problems developing if your child keeps sucking their thumb.

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