Digit Sucking

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Thumb or finger sucking (and pacifiers) are habits that occur commonly in infants and young children. Children usually give up finger-sucking between the ages of 4 – 6 years of age. If the habit continues past the age when the permanent teeth start to erupt, there is the possibility that the teeth may become rotated and misaligned. The continued habit can result in a malocclusion including changes in the position of the upper and lower jaws as well as the roof of the mouth. This depends on the frequency, duration, intensity and position of the thumb or finger in the child’s mouth. 

Should your child present with a malocclusion, a referral to an orthodontist is appropriate. Often, the children are referred when they are at a dental age of 8-9 years old (approximately 3rd-4th grade) when the permanent first molars (six year molars), four upper permanent incisors and four lower permanent incisors have erupted. There are times when earlier treatment would be of benefit. We will help guide you through this process.