Habit Appliances

Crawford Orthodontic Care

Orthodontist Located in Norcross, Duluth, Cumming, Stockbridge, Lithia Springs & Kennesaw, GA

If your child has bad habits like thumb sucking and tongue thrust, it’s important to correct the habit as soon as possible to avoid long-term oral health problems. At Crawford Orthodontic Care in Lithia Springs, Stockbridge, Kennesaw, Duluth, and Norcross, Georgia, Keith Crawford, DMD, and the talented orthodontic care team offer habit appliances to correct these problems, the easy way. Call the office closest to you for an appointment today.

Habit Appliances Q & A

What is a habit appliance?

A habit appliance is an orthodontic appliance that corrects a habit like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting (pushing the tongue in the middle of the teeth when swallowing).

Although both of these habits may self-correct, there are many cases where children still suck their thumb or tongue thrust well past toddlerhood.

Most children stop sucking their thumb between ages 2-4. If your child continues after that time or if you’re struggling to wean them off the habit, talk to the Crawford Orthodontic Care team about whether a habit appliance might help.

How do thumb sucking and tongue thrust cause problems?

When your child sucks their thumb or frequently thrusts their tongue between their teeth, they're putting continuous pressure on their still-developing jaw.

This pressure can lead to problems like teeth misalignment, tooth protrusion, jaw malformation, and open bite, in which the teeth don't meet when the mouth is closed.

Thumb sucking and tongue thrust interfere with normal jaw and teeth development at a critical time in your child's life. If you correct the habit now, you can help your child avoid serious orthodontic problems as they move into their teen and adult years.

How do appliances correct bad habits?

Habit appliances essentially make bad habits unrewarding for your child, which means they discontinue the habit.

For example, a thumb sucking habit appliance can prevent the thumb from getting into the mouth comfortably or may have small prongs that make thumb sucking uncomfortable.

A tongue thrust appliance, which looks similar to a mouth guard, works by making it difficult or impossible to stick the tongue through the teeth.

Are habit appliances painful for children?

Habit appliances aren’t painful. It’s possible that your child might experience some minor discomfort as they grow accustomed to wearing their new habit appliance, but this generally passes quickly. Most habit appliances aren’t any more difficult to wear than a typical mouth guard or retainer.

Learn more about how a habit appliance can help your child break a bad habit by calling the Crawford Orthodontic Care office nearest you today.