Call Us: 717-243-8888

Business hours: Monday-Thursday 8am-12pm & 1pm-5pm

Orthodontic Treatment Services: Thumb Guards

Dr. Killian's practice serves Carlisle, PA and the surrounding area. Dr. Killian provides a full suite of dental services to correct teeth and brighten smiles.

Dr. Killian also recommends preventative measures, such as thumb guards. Thumb-sucking, while common among children, can cause serious orthodontic problems and sometimes requires treatment with thumb guards.

Effects of Thumb-Sucking

Thumb-sucking or pacifier use becomes a problem if the habit continues for an excessive amount of time. If your child stops thumb-sucking by age three, any problems caused by thumb-sucking usually correct themselves without treatment. A child who continues to thumb-suck past age three, however, can develop dental problems that require orthodontic treatment.

Long-term thumb-sucking or pacifier use produces what an dentist calls an anterior open bite, meaning the upper and lower teeth don't meet when you bite. Front teeth that don't meet are of little use for biting and chewing, which puts additional pressure on the remaining teeth. This strains the teeth and jaw muscles, which results in headaches, damaged teeth and tooth sensitivity.

Additionally, an anterior open bite also affects appearance. Because the front teeth don't meet, the condition negatively affects the child's smile.

Thumb Guards

Thumb-sucking causes a suction seal between the lips and the thumb that the child finds comforting and pleasant. Because the habit brings pleasure, the child has little motivation to stop thumb-sucking.

A thumb guard includes a clear, non-toxic plastic cover that fits over the child's thumb. The plastic tube is slightly wider than the child's thumb. When the child tries to suck, the air between the thumb and the plastic prevents a seal from forming between the lips and thumb, removing the pleasure of thumb-sucking.

To ensure the child cannot remove the thumb guard, the device attaches securely to the thumb and hand. Brightly colored bands make the device fun to wear, and Dr. Killian fits the device so it causes only minimal restriction of hand activity.

Stopping Thumb-Sucking

You can't, unfortunately, go to an dentist once and stop a thumb-sucking habit. Dr. Killian can provide you with thumb guards and advice, but you need to take an active role in breaking your child's habit.

Thumb guards must be used consistently to work, meaning your child must wear this dentist-prescribed device at any time he or she might want to thumb-suck. Parents see the best results if the child wears the thumb guard 24 hours a day for at least four weeks, only removing the device once a day for cleaning.

In addition, Dr. Killian stresses the need for positive reinforcement when breaking a thumb-sucking habit. Praise and rewards for successful behavior encourage children to actively avoid thumb-sucking.

Dr. Killian's Orthodontic treatment Service

Dr. Killian urges parents to take preventative steps where their children's teeth are concerned. Catching orthodontic problems early prevents severe conditions from developing. Dr. Killian's goal is simple: to provide you with the best possible orthodontic treatment with the least amount of dental work so you can enjoy your smile and healthy teeth.

Other Orthodontics Services:

  • Fastbraces®
  • Palatal Expanders
  • Occlusal Guards
  • Retainers