Children who have habits such as sucking their thumb, pacifiers, lips, or tongue may be causing damage to the oral structure of their mouth. While many children will stop these habits on their own, some children will continue beyond preschool. Thankfully, there are oral habit-breaking appliances that can help to stop these habits when traditional methods have not worked.
Types of Oral Habit-Breaking Appliances
There are a number of techniques that are used to stop these habits. This typically entails using an orthodontic device that attaches to the rear molars and spans across the palate to the front of the mouth. They work behind the upper front teeth and the roof of the mouth to prevent children from sucking on their thumb. Oral habit-breaking appliances include:
Hay Rake: This device has short prongs that are placed just behind the front teeth, which is intended to make the act of thumb sucking uncomfortable.
Crib Tongue or Palatal: Has a set of metal rings or bars that are placed behind the upper front teeth to discourage thumb sucking and tongue thrusting.
Blue Grass: This appliance includes a roller that is placed at the top of the mouth, preventing children from thumb sucking. It is often the easiest for children to tolerate.
Lip Bumper: A lip bumper can help to discourage the sucking or biting of the lower lip.
It is important for parents to be understanding and supportive during the process of breaking bad oral habits. It is important that you do not make your child feel embarrassed about their habit, rather, work with them to feel comfortable living life without the habit!
For more information regarding oral habit-breaking appliances, contact our office today to schedule an appointment!
Dr. Michelle Anderson is a pediatric dentist board certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.