Thumb & Finger Appliances

 Child sucking thumb.


Allow Us to Help Your Child Stop Thumbsucking

At Arlington Pediatric Dentistry, we understand you don’t want your baby to grow up, but it’s important to understand the potential dental dangers if your child doesn’t stop thumbsucking. The following are just a few issues we might be dealing with if it continues beyond age three or four, or beyond when the baby teeth erupt: 

  • Jaw Misalignment – As the jaw grows, it can become drastically misaligned because the bone is still flexible at such a young age, making it easy for the pressure of the thumb to slowly push the jaw out of place.
  • Open Bite – Because the thumb is in the way, the front teeth are unable to close, leaving a gap in the front of the mouth.
  • Protrusion – The front upper teeth could protrude or flare forward, and the lower teeth could be pushed inward and backward.

Can These Issues Be Prevented?

The good news is, there are ways to prevent the problems caused by thumb sucking. At Arlington Pediatric Dentistry, we fit our young patients with habit appliances to help them kick the habit. While parents might try a myriad of other remedies, a habit appliance is often the most effective. If we determine this is the right course of action for your toddler, the process will look like this:

Fixed palatal crib.
  1. We’ll complete an exam that includes impressions, X-rays, and photos of the teeth. We’ll use these to make a custom palatal crib.
  2. The crib will be affixed to the back molars, with semicircular wires that extend to the back of the front teeth.
  3. The crib will take the comfortable sensation away from the child, as they will not be able to feel the roof of the mouth with their thumb.
  4. After a few months of no thumb sucking, the appliance will be removed.

Although the palatal crib won’t cause major pain, it will take some getting used to. Your child might feel slight discomfort and could be annoyed at its presence. Just pay special attention to your child and show extra love and everything will be fine. 

Contact Us for More Information

If you’re worried your child’s teething habits will cause permanent dental damage, contact Arlington Pediatric Dentistry today for an exam. Give us a call at 703-671-KIDS (5437) and let us have a look!