Learning to Take Better Care of Your Family's Teeth

Late-Period Thumb-Suckers: How A Pediatric Dentist Can Help

Thumb-sucking is a habit that many children form when quite young but that usually goes away after a few years. However, some may persistently suck their thumb well past kindergarten and may hide it from their parents. Any parent who discovers their child engaging in this activity needs to talk to a pediatric dentist right away to get help.

Thumb-Sucking May Last Longer Than You Think

Parents typically break their child of a thumb-sucking habit when their child is quite young. Doing so is important because it may cause damage to their mouth and their teeth that can be hard to manage without proper help. However, some parents may find that their children – who are well into the second or even third grade – suck their thumb in their room when anxious or while they are asleep.

This moment can be a difficult one for parents to manage because they now have even more pressure to get their child to stop. If they let them keep sucking their thumb, it's likely to cause damage to their permanent teeth. And the child may already have done some damage with their intensive and compulsive behavior. Therefore, parents must talk to a pediatric dentist right away to get the help that they need.

How a Pediatric Dentist Can Help

If you discover that your child is sucking their thumb behind your back well into the third and fourth grade, you need to talk to a pediatric dentist right away. These experts can help you decide if a thumb-sucking guard is necessary for your child. While these are usually designed for younger children, they may help a child who feels compelled to suck their thumb when you aren't around them at night.

Furthermore, this benefit is particularly important for those children who unconsciously suck their thumb without meaning to while they sleep. Whatever approach you have to take, you also must make sure that your dentist examines your child's teeth as well. There is a good chance that your child may need corrective surgery on their teeth if they are still sucking their thumb that late into life.

Discovering that your child sucks their thumb at a late age can be a very difficult situation to experience. Thankfully, you can manage this problem with a pediatric dentist. These professionals have the years of experience necessary to ensure that you manage this common problem in a cool, calm, and reasonable manner. Doing so may help your child for life.