Thumb Sucking & Your Child's Teeth

Thumb Sucking & Your Child's Teeth

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Posted 2023-05-23 by Vanessafollow

Thumb sucking is a self-soothing practice that helps during the first few months of establishing feeding and disappears somewhere between 2-4 years of age. However, if thumb or finger sucking continues past this age, it can alter the normal growth of the jaws and cause significant misalignment of your child's front teeth.

Most children will stop sucking their thumb by themselves by the time they are 4 years old. Others will stop when they get to school and find out that other children there are not sucking their thumb. The risk of dental problems is related to how often, how long and how intensely your child sucks on his or her thumb. If you're concerned about the effect of thumb sucking on your child's teeth, consider speaking to an orthodontist.

While General Dentists diagnose and treat common problems that affect your child's teeth, mouth and gums, orthodontists are experts in facial growth and dental development. They specialise in diagnosing and treating crooked teeth, poorly aligned jaws and all other issues relating to teeth growing in the wrong position such as protrusive upper front teeth, open bite and crossbite.

An orthodontist is the dental specialist to see if your child’s thumb sucking is affecting the development of their teeth and for some kids, a friendly chat with an orthodontist about why it's important to stop thumb sucking is more effective than a talk with mum or dad.

When should my child visit an Orthodontist?
The Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends children visit a registered specialist orthodontist for an assessment between the ages of 8 and 10 years old.

This is the ideal age to evaluate your child’s development and determine whether early orthodontic treatment is required for: protruding teeth, crowding, spacing, or missing teeth. If their teeth and jaws are developing in a safe and healthy way, then orthodontic treatment can be held off until all their adult teeth have formed or potentially even avoided altogether.

If you are noticing issues relating to your child’s teeth or jaws before the age of 8, it is also advisable to book in for a consultation.

What problems can an Orthodontist treat?
You can consider taking your child to an orthodontist if:
Your child has biting or chewing difficulties.
Your child’s front teeth are crowded or protruding.
Your child’s jaw shifts when he or she opens or closes the mouth.
Your child is older than five years and still sucks a thumb or finger.

By seeking early treatment, your orthodontist will be able to identify and begin treating any underlying issues and prevent more serious problems from developing.

Do I need a referral for an orthodontist?
No referral is required to make an appointment with an orthodontist.

Are you looking for a family-friendly orthodontist in the Illawarra region?
My Dental Team has been a well-loved dental practice in the region for over a decade! The awarded team of dentists and orthodontists are dedicated to meeting all your family’s dental needs.

Their team offers:
  • FREE consultations with a specialist orthodontist
  • GAP FREE check-ups and cleans for those in a Health Fund
  • Affordable interest-free and deposit-free dental payment plans
  • Bulk-billing services under the Medicare Child Dental Benefits Schedule are provided for your little ones too!

  • Make a booking online now at:

    Address: 28 Beatson St, Wollongong NSW 2500
    Phone Number: 02 4209 3020


    78657 - 2023-05-17 01:40:24


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