What Are Habit Appliances?
The habit of finger- or thumb-sucking often brings comfort to children in the early developmental years. However, the pressure placed on the oral structures of children who engage in these habits can inhibit proper development and even result in a number of dental issues, including protrusion of the front teeth, a misaligned bite, and other jaw concerns. To aid in finger- and thumb-sucking prevention, our team of general dentists and orthodontists are pleased to offer custom habit appliances. These metal and resin appliances are generally worn on the upper arch to keep the thumb or fingers from coming into contact with the gums behind the front teeth and roof of the mouth. If your little one has a habit of finger- or thumb-sucking, we encourage you to schedule a visit at Grove Dental Group and Orthodontics in Wyomissing and Reading, PA. Our caring team can help determine if a habit appliance is right for your child and partner with you to protect and preserve the smiles of those you love most.
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Candidates for Thumb and Finger Appliances
Finger- and thumb-sucking habits can cause a number of negative effects on your child's smile, bite, oral function, and overall dental health. Once the baby teeth begin to emerge, the risk for tooth misalignment and orthodontic concerns increases with the pressure caused by a finger- or thumb-sucking habit. This may lead to protrusion of the upper jaw and teeth, improper lower jaw development, open bite, crossbite, and several other potential dental issues that may impact functional abilities. Children who still have a habit of thumb- or finger-sucking beyond three years of age are generally good candidates for a habit appliance.
What Is the Treatment Process?
During the consultation, one of our team members will evaluate your child's teeth and jaw and talk with you about their finger- or thumb-sucking habit. We can then help you determine the best type of appliance for breaking this habit and protect their teeth and jaw during development. Habit appliances may be a fixed palatal crib (bonded in place to the upper teeth) or a removable retainer-like device and are made of high-grade metal or acrylic materials. Our pediatric dental practitioners will take impressions of your child's upper and lower teeth and send them to our partner dental lab where your child's finger or thumb appliance will be custom-crafted. Once the device arrives in our office, which is generally about 1 – 2 weeks later, we will have you return with your child so that we can position the appliance in place and provide you with instructions for use and care.
Caring for Habit Appliances
Our pediatric dental team will show you how to clean and care for your child's finger or thumb appliance and maintain their oral health during this time. It may take your child a few days to become used to wearing the appliance. Providing praise and encouragement as your child goes through the process of breaking a finger- or thumb-sucking habit can help as they transition away from their comfort routine. We can also suggest alternative comfort solutions to help your child feel secure and at ease during the habit-breaking process. Habit appliances generally work very quickly, as these devices immediately diminish the enjoyment received when children place their fingers or thumb into the mouth. After your child breaks the habit and is no longer finding comfort in this activity, our team can remove the appliance and will continue to monitor their jaw development at each of their routine checkups at Grove Dental Group and Orthodontics.
Insurance Coverage for Oral Appliances
Finger and thumb appliances may or may not be covered by dental insurance. For details on your individual coverage, our business team will review your plan and talk with you about any estimated personal costs. Grove Dental Group and Orthodontics strives to make care accessible to all patients and accepts several convenient and affordable payment options, including interest-free financing.
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Protect Your Child's Oral Health and Smile
Many young children find comfort and enjoyment in finger- and thumb-sucking. However, when this habit extends further into childhood, the effects can be damaging to their oral health and function. To enhance, preserve, and improve the smiles and dental well-being of children in the Wyomissing and Reading, PA area, our well-trained pediatric dentists and orthodontists are pleased to offer finger and thumb appliances to help break these potentially harmful habits. Find out more about the benefits of finger- and thumb-sucking prevention by scheduling a visit at Grove Dental Group and Orthodontics.