At first glance, thumb sucking appears to be an innocent habit, and parent’s often find it’s a natural reflex for children under the age of four. But if you ask the opinion of any childrens orthodontist cincinnati oh parents must closely monitor this action because it could cause serious dental problems.
Doctors say these habits in the first few years are considered normal because they are associated with the need for emotional satisfaction and safety. As with pacifier abuse, children who continually place their thumb in the mouth, and who have been doing it for more than three years typically run into a series of adverse consequences in relation to their teeth, and dental malocclusion is the most common.
How Does Thumb-Sucking Affect Oral Health?
As a result of thumb-sucking, many of the following complications can occur: Changes the orientation of the dental arches: moving the upper teeth forward and lower teeth backward. Dental malocclusion: open bite due to lack of contact between the upper and lower incisors when biting. Deformation of the palate: due to the push in the upward direction that produces the suction of the finger, the palate is modified. Alterations of the language: due to the modification of the normal situation of teeth, tongue and palate, the pronunciation of certain phonetics can be affected. Needless to say, if the thumb-sucking habit continues as a child gets older, seeing an orthodontist will become critical.
The Most Common Dental Problem from Thumb-Sucking
Also referred to as an “open bite” dental malocclusion is a misalignment of the upper and lower teeth, and with thumb-suckers, there is a lack of contact when biting that occurs between the upper and lower incisors. This is the most common dental issue for kids who habitually suck their thumbs. Malocclusion can cause the patient early periodontal problems, inflammation of the gums, bone resorption, accumulation of food, difficulty in chewing, resulting in nutrition problems, and alteration of phonetics, resulting in language/communication problems. Likewise, the inadequate alignment of the teeth can produce problems at the level of the temporomandibular joint, muscular pain at the level of the head and neck, and bruxism. The latter refers to teeth grinding and tooth wear.
How Can a Malocclusion Be Corrected?
The position of the teeth can be corrected with orthodontics. You can also perform ortho surgeries to improve the position of the jaws if necessary. Normally, a multidisciplinary treatment is used among several specialties of dentistry.
Avoiding and Improving Dental Issues
Dentists point out, it is recommended to have a dental appointment every 6 months. Parents should take the children as early as possible for a dental cleaning and evaluation.
Prevention and early diagnosis of cases of malocclusion is very important because in this way the problem can be attacked in its initial stage and not when it is already very advanced. When it gets to an advanced stage, again, there could be problems of the temporomandibular joint, bone resorption and tooth wear. Therefore, it’s really necessary to begin visiting the dentist as early as possible.