Parents ask me all the time, “How long will it take before my child eliminates his or her sucking habit?”
Thumb/Finger sucking habits are quite normal in infancy and early childhood. Many children experience pleasure from these habits for the first few years of life and then terminate them of their own volition. However, it is important to understand that these habits may become excessive as time goes by and can adversely influence the formation of the bony oral structure and/or position of the teeth and can lead to a dental malocclusion. It can also cause the tongue to rest in a low, forward position causing an orofacial myofunctional disorder (OMD) of an incorrect resting posture of the tongue and lips and an incorrect swallowing pattern (known as “tongue thrust”) as well as developmental of a speech disorder such as a lisp. In addition, there are risks of infection from communicable diseases due to the simple fact that they can be be sucking non-sterile thumbs or fingers as well as social implications of ridicule by peers.
The length of time to eliminate a prolonged non-nutritive sucking habit has nothing to do with age but depends on 3 factors:
Common Problems Associated with Thumbsucking.
Did you know that thumb sucking is often seen in ultrasounds even before birth? According to a recent report, between 75 and 95% of infants suck their thumbs or fingers.
These Before and After dental photos are a continuation of posts about one of my patients, Shay Lowe Shull of Mix and Match Mama, who shared her experience with orofacial myofunctional therapy at Honor Franklin Myofunctional & Speech Clinic and orthodontics at Adams & McBride Orthodontics in my blog dated 4-19-2016 and showed her excellent results on 5-3-2016. Results like this are another example why IAOM Certified Orofacial Myofunctional Therapists are a necessary part of the orthodontic team in helping orthodontists achieve successful results.
One of my precious adult patients, Shay Lowe-Shull, writes about her experience with Myofunctional Therapy in her very successful blog Mix and Match Mama . Read her interesting story here. Dr. George Adams of Adams & McBride Orthodontics is Doctor 17 and Dr Honor Franklin at Honor Franklin Myofunctional & Speech Clinic is Doctor 18.