Your Dentist has recommended a Habit Appliance for your child, this means that your child has tried to stop sucking their thumb/fingers/tongue, but needs a little help to do so.
This appliance is for children who want to stop but find it hard. Children have often had an oral habit since birth and in some cases in-utero, so it isn’t an easy habit for children to break on their own, although some children do grow out of the habit naturally without causing damage to their teeth.
The reason for recommending the appliance for your child is that the habit has changed the way he/she bites together and will now cause a problem for erupting adult teeth. This is the best time to step in and lend a helping hand as it eliminates any further damage and/or orthodontic intervention later on.
Impressions will be taken and the molds sent away to a lab overseas, this will take approx. 4-6 weeks. You will get a call as soon as it arrives, and we will fit you in for an appointment at your convenience.
The appliance is a fixed type, which means that we use bands around the molars and fix them in place with dental cement. At first, it will feel a little strange, and your child may complain for the first night, but children adjust very quickly and usually forget about it over the following days without too much fuss. The appliance is purely there as a gentle reminder not to suck the thumb/fingers/tongue and it doesn’t provide the same comfort that the habit once did. Over time your child will no longer feel the need to soothe themselves with the habit, thus breaking the cycle.
This is a very clean appliance and can be brushed as normal in the morning and before bed. Some foods are off-limits as they can pull the appliance out, usually anything sticky or tacky, for example, Fruit Roll-Ups, Gummy bears, Toffee Sweets, Skittles, etc. If this happens please call and we can re-cement it back into place. Soda can also break down the Dental Cement that holds the appliance in place, so it is best to avoid highly acidic drinks. It may be difficult to bite into apples or pizza, but these can be easily cut into smaller pieces and eaten that way.
All Habit Appliances are in place for approx. 6-8 months. Once we are confident that the habit is broken, we can remove it easily. We do keep the appliance in the office as children can relapse and we have to re-cement it again if you observe old habits. It doesn’t happen often but when it does it eliminates the need to make a new appliance at an additional cost to you.