Thumb Sucking. When should I be concerned?

Thumb Sucking. When should I be concerned?

Thumb sucking is very common with infants and babies. It allows them to soothe and comfort themselves. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says “ for young babies, it is a way to make contact with and learn about the world”. More than three-quarters of infants suck their thumbs or fingers.

When Should I Be Concerned?

Most children begin to stop sucking their thumbs and fingers before the age of 4. However some children will continue to do it when they are tired or when they may be experiencing anxiety or stress. Once a child begins school they usually stop due to being teased but if it continues we recommend you get a consultation with your general dentist for an evaluation.

Depending on the amount of time the child is sucking their thumb or fingers and how aggressive they may be will determine if you should be concerned. With aggressive sucking your child’s palate, the roof of the mouth, may begin to affect their bite as well as the growth of their jaw bones. Resulting in long term problems.

When Should I Get A Professional Opinion?

It is very important that your child begins getting dental check ups and cleanings from your general dentist or a pediatric dentist once the baby teeth begin coming in. They will start to watch for any issues your child may have due to sucking their thumb or fingers.

Once your child begins to get their permanent teeth it’s time to get an exam from an Orthodontist. Early detection of problems will significantly change the amount of time your child will stay in orthodontic treatment. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends your child see an orthodontist no later than age 7 or as early as age 3.

What Can I Do To Help My Child Stop Sucking Their Thumb?

Using positive reinforcement when you notice they are not doing it. Creating a reward chart at home with rewards once they hit a number of days. Have your child participate by putting a star on the chart for every day they are thumb or finger free. You can purchase thumb emoji’s on Amazon along with more positive emoji’s. Make it a fun and positive experience.

Try and figure out what triggers it. Give positive encouragement.

Dr. Lupini offers free orthodontic exams. Treatment may or may not be required at that time. If Dr. Lupini determines that your child is not ready for early treatment, he will recommend follow-up visits to evaluate growth and development, then determine the appropriate time to begin treatment.

For more suggestions on how to help your child stop sucking their thumb or fingers checkout Web MD, Mayo Clinic, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry or the American Dental Association’s websites.

Stop in or call one of our downriver offices.

Trenton 1954 West Rd., Trenton  MI 48183 or call us at 734-675-1170.Wyandotte 1605 Fort St., Wyandotte  MI 48192 or call us at 734-282-4100.

We serve the Downriver Community and its surrounding communities. Trenton, Wyandotte, Taylor, Detroit, Riverview, Southgate, Romulus, Lincoln Park, Brownstown, Woodhaven, Grosse Ile, Gibraltar, Flat Rock, Gibraltar, Carleton and Monroe.

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