Thumb Sucking

It’s normal for babies to suck their fingers and thumbs as they are born with a reflex to suck any object placed in their mouth. This behaviour helps during the first few months of establishing feeding and disappears at around four months. There are usually no long-term ill-effects from thumb sucking in early childhood and most children naturally give-up the habit somewhere between 2-4 years of age. However, if thumb or finger sucking continues past this age it can alter the normal growth of the jaws and cause significant misalignment of the front adult teeth as they erupt into the mouth.
Here are a few issues that thumb sucking can cause:
– Protrusive upper front teeth. This can be a simple tooth position problem, where the upper incisor teeth are tipped forward. Occasionally, the formation of the jaw can be affected, which can lead to the upper jaw and teeth protruding from the face.
– Tipped back lower front teeth. The pressure of the thumb forces the lower incisor teeth to tip toward the tongue.
– Open bite. The upper and lower front teeth do not meet when the back teeth bite together. The shape of the opening between the upper and lower front teeth may match the child’s finger or thumb exactly.
– Cross bite. The formation of the upper jaw is too narrow for the lower jaw, so the upper and lower teeth do not fit together properly. This can occur as a result of the flexing of the cheek muscles while the child is sucking their thumb.
If your child is over the age of four and hasn’t yet stopped sucking their fingers or thumb. It’s important to bring them in for a consultation with one of our dentists at Coomera Dental Centre. They will access any damage that has been done and will pick up on what could happen in the future. From here they can refer you to an orthodontist to get on top of it early.