Thumb Habit Appliance23 Jun 2017, Posted by Uncategorized in
Sometimes when a child does not outgrow their thumb sucking habit it can have negative effects on the development of their jaws and teeth. Thankfully – there is an orthodontic device that can correct this problem. Most children stop thumb sucking typically between the ages of 2 – 4 years of age. When thumb habits persist after the eruption of the permanent teeth negative effects such as misalignment of teeth and improper growth of the mouth this is because the jaws in small children grow very rapidly. which is why the constant pressure of a thumb or finger can deform the soft bone around the upper front teeth.
If the thumb habit is not stopped it can result in the upper teeth flaring out while the lower teeth are being pushed inward. The growth pattern of the lower jaw can also be effected this can cause misalignment of the teeth, an open bite (where the front teeth do not overlap the bottom teeth), crossbites (where the upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth) or multiple other problems.
A commonly used appliance Dr. Virdee uses is called a “palatal crib” also known as a thumb crib. This appliance is placed on the upper teeth by an orthodontist. It is positioned behind the upper teeth on the roof of the mouth. The crib is held on to the teeth by being glued to the molar teeth by metal bands. The design of the crib is usually three semi circles. The wire behind the upper front teeth is not very noticeable. This stops thumb sucking quite quickly in most children. The crib keeps the thumb from touching the gums behind the front teeth which takes the enjoyment away from the habit. This appliance is custom made for your child’s mouth.
There isn’t any pain associated with wearing this device however there may be some soreness the first night while the child adjusts to this appliance. Some children have trouble falling asleep for a couple of days afterwards.
As with many appliances it is best to avoid chewy sticky foods so that the appliance does not become loose. Your orthodontist will continue to monitor you during treatment and decide the appropriate time to remove the thumb crib.