Will Thumb Sucking Affect Teeth?

If your child sucks their thumb, you’re most likely wondering if it can have an impact on their teeth. While thumb sucking is natural for young children, if they still do it consistently as they get older and grow teeth, it can begin to greatly impact their dental health.

Roof of the Mouth

Thumb sucking can greatly affect the palate, which is the roof of the mouth. The constant pressure from thumb sucking can cause great sensitivity and discomfort, and can also cause the roof of the mouth to curve more. This reduces the amount of space between the teeth on the left and right of the upper jaw. Excessively using cheek muscles also contributes to the narrowing of the roof of the mouth.

Risk of Illness

Children often don’t wash their hands as much as they should, which means more germs on their hands. When they put their thumb in their mouth, any germs then transfer, which then makes them extra susceptible to getting sick and developing infections. Even if they do wash their hands, constantly putting your fingers or hands in your mouth isn’t sanitary.

Bite Issues

Consistent thumb sucking often produces bite issues, such as overbites and underbites. It can also cause other bite issues such as the bottom teeth going inwards towards the back of the mouth, or an open bite where the top and bottom teeth don’t touch even when the mouth is closed. These bite issues can make chewing difficult or uncomfortable.

Changes in Jaw Shape

If a child sucks their thumb for long enough, it’s possible for them to experience changes in the shape of their jaw, which then leads to changing the shape of their teeth overall. This can cause lisps and speech impediments.

Breathing Issues

If your child suffers from jaw misalignment due to thumb sucking, it’s not uncommon for them to also experience breathing problems. Since thumb sucking can cause a higher, more narrow roof of the mouth, the sinus passages and overall nasal structure are then affected.

Contact Us Today

If your child sucks their thumb and you are concerned about the effect it may have on their teeth and jaw, contact Rio & Dental & Orthodontics. While we are qualified to work with the whole family, our team is specially trained to diagnose and treat pediatric-related dental problems. Call our pediatric dentistry near Fort Worth to schedule your or your child’s next appointment.

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You can play a part in preparing your child for his or her first visit to our office. Informing your child of the visit as an exciting experience for both of you can ease any hesitations. As a parent try to act relaxed, since your child may sense any anxiety on your part.

Explain to your child that the doctor will “count, brush, and maybe take pictures of their teeth”. We also ask that you assume the role of a silent observer. Cooperation and trust must be established directly between the doctor, staff, and your child and not through you. Your child may become confused if receiving instructions from multiple sources.

We recommend bringing your baby in for their first dental appointment by their first birthday, or within 6 months of their first tooth appearing (whichever comes first). During this appointment, we will examine your baby’s mouth to track their dental development and discuss age-appropriate dental care.

It’s easy to make appointments to visit our office online or over the phone. Rio Dental sees patients both for checkups and dental emergencies. Using our online scheduler, you can select the location and time slot that works best for you for either type of appointment. If you have any questions regarding our practice, or simply prefer to make your appointment with a live member of staff, please don’t hesitate to call!

Rio Dental Group accepts most PPO insurances. We recommend that new patients and returning patients with new insurance policies reach out to us before their appointment to confirm coverage. Our Fort Worth location also sees patients who are covered by Medicaid and CHIP programs.

We don’t like surprises, either! Our staff is prepared to discuss the cost of dental services before you undergo treatment so that you know what to expect in terms of fees. The cost of your services will be due at the end of your appointment. Our office accepts payment by cash, credit card, or check.

Rio Dental Group allows patients to pay with their CareCredit card. CareCredit is a healthcare credit card designed to cover out-of-pocket costs at over 225,000 providers nationwide. After leaving the office, card holders will be able to make convenient monthly payments towards their balance. To learn more, visit the CareCredit website.

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