In babies and very young children, thumb sucking as well as finger or pacifier sucking is considered quite normal. Normal up to a certain age that is. If your child is still sucking their thumb or a using pacifier beyond the age of three, it can lead to an Orthodontic issue known as Open Bite down the road. Often called “buck teeth”, Open Bite is an orthodontic condition where the upper front teeth are too far forward and stick out over the lower teeth.
Open Bite conditions can be difficult to eliminate and if they persist into adolescence and adulthood, the issue may require complex orthodontic treatment or even dental surgery.
Thumb sucking usually stops around the age of three but can go on much longer. If your child continues to suck their thumb or use a pacifier beyond say 24 months, you may want to consider ways to wean them off the habit such as offering words of encouragement, having them wear mittens or wrapping the thumb with an adhesive bandage.
In a nutshell, the longer the period of time your child sucks a finger, thumb or pacifier the more likely it is that some level of Orthodontic treatments will be required. Like many things, catching a potential issue early is always best. Getting an expert opinion and assessment from a Certified Orthodontist when your child is still young is worthwhile (and often cost-saving) preventative measure.
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