Finger, Thumb, and Tongue Habit Therapy

Finger and Thumb Habits

Prolonged finger habits lead to negative side effects which include:

  • Protrusion of upper teeth / tipping back of lower teeth
  • Open bite (no overlap between upper and lower teeth)
  • Speech difficulties
  • Improper function (back teeth work harder than they should)
  • Distortion of the alveolus (bone that supports teeth)
  • Constriction of the upper jaw
  • Crossbite of the back teeth
  • Functional Shift of lower jaw which may lead to asymmetric lower jaw growth.

Thumb or finger sucking can be a very difficult habit to stop. Frequently home remedies are effective in breaking the habit, but sometimes kids need extra help.

If your child above age 5 and still has a thumb or finger habit, then please consider visiting our office as your child may benefit from a habit appliance.

Tongue Thrusting

A tongue thrusting habit can lead to dental and skeletal problems:

  • Flaring of upper and lower teeth
  • Spacing between teeth
  • Open bite
  • Improper function (back teeth working harder than they should)
  • Speech difficulties

Habit Appliances

Habit appliances are custom-made and may be fixed (glued in) or a removable.

The appliance sits behind the front teeth and serves as a physical reminder for kids to keep their thumb or finger out of their mouth or their tongue back.

For finger/thumb suckers, the appliance reduces the suction sensation to take away the pleasurable feedback which leads to stopping the habit.

Getting Used to the Habit Appliance

Wearing the habit appliance is not painful.   Your child may have some soreness around the top back teeth for a few hours after the appliance is placed.  Also, they may have some trouble falling asleep for a day or two because they aren’t able to self-soothe with their habit.

Usually TLC and your reassurance will allow your child to get used to the appliance pretty quickly.

Have your child avoid hard, sticky and chewy foods while the appliance is in place.

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