Can Thumb-Sucking Cause Children to Need Braces?

Little girl smiling and holding teeth model at dentist's officeThumb-sucking is a natural and common occurrence among babies and young children. It is often viewed as a phase that most kids go through. Understandably, some parents may wonder if this habit will have a negative impact on their child’s teeth later on in life. Thumb-sucking is typically harmless up to the age of five; however, kids who continue to suck their thumbs past that age are more at risk of developing orthodontic issues. Children with a more aggressive habit are more likely to need braces or other types of orthodontic solutions in the future to improve the condition of their teeth and mouth.

While thumb-sucking among children usually stops at a certain age, the action of prolonged sucking of the thumb can have a structural impact on the individual’s mouth. The added pressure can impact the structure, stability, and alignment of the teeth and jaw. Specific issues that can occur from persistent thumb-sucking can include buck teeth or front teeth that extend farther out than the natural alignment, bite irregularities, palate issues, and speech problems. Additionally, if the structural integrity of the mouth, jaw, and teeth is compromised, the actual face shape may be impacted as well. Oftentimes these unwanted orthodontic conditions can be corrected if caught at an early age. For this reason, we typically recommend that parents with a child who is five years of age or older and still has a thumb-sucking habit consult an orthodontist to determine if early intervention treatment is needed.

At Banasiak & Nettune, we pride ourselves on the care and attention we provide during the orthodontic treatment process. If you think that your child or teenager can benefit from orthodontic care, we offer effective solutions including Invisalign® Teen and braces for kids. Invisalign® Teen and braces for kids can be ideal options for correcting certain teeth or bite issues before they worsen with age.

If you would like to learn more about the long-term effects of thumb-sucking or are in need of orthodontic treatment, we invite you to contact our practice today to schedule a consultation!