Will Thumb Sucking Change my Child’s Looks

will thumb sucking change childs looksThousand Oaks, Westlake Village and Agoura Hills, CA

Thumb sucking is a natural instinct for babies. Albeit an adorable habit, while they are babies, thumb sucking as a child ages quickly becomes a nagging habit for many parents. If thumb sucking continues into childhood, it significantly impacts the development of a child’s teeth and jaws, even changing their looks entirely, which often leads to an open bite or what is referred to as “buck teeth.” Here’s a look at what can be done about the problem, but let’s first take a look at how thumb sucking impacts a child’s looks. 

Long-term effects of thumb sucking can result in an over bite or an open bite, as a result of consistent force on the teeth. Often, a recessed lower jaw is corrected later in adolescence by way of orthodontics in which braces are used to force the protruding top teeth further back, bringing them into alignment with the lower jaw. However, this method of treatment is not necessarily the most effective way to treat this condition. The lower jaw is the actual problem, not just the top teeth.

By ignoring the fact that the lower jaw is actually too far back, the lower jaw can cause the airway to collapse, resulting in pediatric sleep apnea, and a narrow or long-looking face. To create a more attractive appearance, the lower jaw and mouth muscles should be retrained to function properly by way of myofunctional therapy, although orthodontic therapy may still be needed later on. Myofunctional therapy uses a specialized series of exercises that help retrain oral and facial muscles to functional properly, thus, can help realign the bite without the need for an oral appliance.

It may also be necessary for your child to undergo orthodontic treatment later on to correct gaps between teeth or teeth that are severely misaligned. However, myofunctional therapy, if adhered to, can dramatically improve the appearance of your child’s face.

The results of myofunctional therapy will depend on the child’s compliance to complete his or hers exercises. Also, the degree at which thumb sucking will impact a child’s looks will be conducive to the amount of force exerted while sucking, how often the child sucks his or her thumb, as well as how long the habit has occurred. For more information about how myofunctional therapy can help improve your child’s looks, contact The Connection by calling (805) 380-6169. 

The Connection provides oral health care with a holistic approach for patients in the Agoura Hills and Westlake Village communities of southern California.

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