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What To Do About Thumbsucking

Family dentist visit

If your child sucks their thumb you may be wondering what type of ramifications lie ahead with general dental health. Thumbsucking is a natural reflex for children. A child will suck on thumbs, fingers, pacifiers or other objects to make them feel secure, calm and happy. This sucking process helps them learn about their world. Young children often suck to soothe themselves and help them fall asleep.

It is important to note however that after your child’s permanent teeth come in, sucking may cause problems with proper growth of the mouth and teeth alignment. Thumb and finger sucking can cause changes in the shape and development in roof of the mouth. Use of pacifiers can affect the teeth the same ways as sucking fingers and thumbs; it is however typically an easier habit to break. The intensity of the sucking is a key factor in determining whether or not dental problems may result. When a child rests their thumbs passively in their mouths, they are less likely to have difficulty than those who are vigorous suckers. Aggressive thumbsuckers can even develop problems with their baby teeth.

Typically a majority of children stop sucking between the ages of two and four years old. It is important for a child to stop sucking by the time the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. If you happen to notice changes in your child’s primary teeth, or have questions or concerns about thumbsucking consult Dr. Morris.

Helpful tips to stop thumbsucking in children:

  • Praise works: Praise your child for not sucking.
  • Help them feel secure: Children often times suck their thumbs when they are feeling insecure or needing comfort. By focusing on correcting the cause of the anxiety you can lessen the desire to suck.
  • Get them involved: Involve your child in choosing the method of stopping (works well for older children).
  • Ask your dentist to get involved: Dentists can offer encouragement to your child and explain what could happen to their teeth if they do not stop sucking.

If the above mentioned tips don’t work, try bandaging the thumb or putting a sock on the thumbsucking hand at night. You can talk to your dentist or child’s doctor about prescribing a bitter medication to coat the thumb or the use of a mouth appliance.

Posted on the behalf of Mitzi Morris, DMD, PC

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Mitzi D. Morris, DMD, PC

4.8/ 5.0

Based on 44 reviews

  • Dr. Morris is an excellent dentist. Her ability to relate to her patients makes her a stand-out amongst those in her profession. She practices dentistry with superior technique and care. Her staff is friendly, helpful, and accommodating. I feel she hires only the best! One special mention: I suffer from panic attacks at times- along with claustrophobia. Dr. Morris is the first dentist I have ever had who helped calm my fears. Thus, my experience exceeded expectations! Great service!

    Cathy Q
  • Going to a new dentist can be stressful, but this experience was the BEST I have ever had. Dr. Morris and Dr. Fields are a cut above the rest, and they offer state of the art technology, and an environment that takes the sting out of going to the dentist for sure. Conveniently located in Roswell, the staff is caring, patient-focused, and efficient. I've never smiled so much at a dentist's office! I highly recommend friends and family making their next visit to this dentist. Pain free!!!!

    Lesley G
  • Definitely would recommend Dr. Morris to anyone. She has been my dentist for over 8 years! Dr. Morris is extremely personable and is serious about the completing the best care possible. Great established dental team! Very accommodating to your schedule.

    Kelly T
  • Great and very educational experience. Compared to my last two dentists this experience blows them both out of the water. The staff is very friendly, and very helpful. I had to go in for a total of four visits a few weeks apart from each other. They made me feel very comfortable the entire time and kept making sure I was pleased. Getting a deep cleaning went very smoothly. It was also brought to my attention that the way I was flossing was incorrect. And have since changed methods. I worked specifically with Dr. Morris. She was very nice, and took the time to explain things. Which is a huge plus for me. Dr. Morris and the staff members worked effortlessly together. I was comfortable enough to sit back and relax, strangely enough, while having cavities drilled and fillings put in. Billing and scheduling appointments, as well as follow up for confirmation of upcoming appointments was very easy. I will say my favorite part of the experience was how friendly of an environment the staff has created. That alone is deserving of a 5 star review, and the rest is honestly icing on the cake. I highly recommend this practice on all fronts and will continue using them!

    Eric F
  • I transferred from a long-term and very good relationship with my former dentist because of a move, and I was a little apprehensive about a new dentist. Dr. Morris has been great. She is friendly, patient-concerned and the office is new, comfortable and clean. Everyone seems to enjoy working there. I feel like I'm in good hands!

    Christopher P
  • Dr. Morris and her staff are very professional. Additionally, she as well as her staff have an excellent "bedside manner." The office is new and well equipped. If one has an appointment and an earlier one opens up, Dr. Morris offers it to her patients as she did with my last appointment.

    David G
  • I have never met a staff so nice and charming. This staff will make you feel comfortable and relaxed in Dr. Morris's Spa like office and everyone is professional and approachable too. Andrea R. explained the process of my appointment and procedures and is definitely a highly-educated and thorough dental hygenist -- SHE IS A ROCKSTAR. I'm so glad that Dr. Morris and her dental team have been my "go-to" for the last 5 years, and I wont be going anywhere else! Overall - A++ Dr. Morris...highly recommended to my family and friends!!!

    Adam O
  • I've been a patient of Dr. Mitzi Morris for many years, and recommend her without reservation. The office is modern. clean and spacious. The staff has always been welcoming and very helpful. And the women who work for her as dental technicians are fantastic; they do a professional and effective deep cleaning, but with a careful, gentle touch. It is clear to me that Dr. Morris reads her professional journals and upgrades her practice to stay very current with the latest best practices in dentistry. (I have had some dentists who stopped updating their practices after leaving dental school!) With Dr. Morris you can count on receiving the very latest dental technology. Her prices are very fair, and I have never been surprised by an unexpected cost or had problems with insurance not covering services rendered.

    Bruce C

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