Dentistry for Children with Shelly K Clark Pediatric Dentistry, Sedation Dentistry, Laser Frenectomy, Special need Dentistry, Children’s Dentistry in Cedar Hill, TX 75104 & Midlothian, TX 76065


Regarding your child’s oral health, thumb-sucking can be a difficult habit to break. Fortunately, Dr. Shelly Clark at Dentistry for Children in Midlothian and Cedar Hill has an experienced and compassionate team who can help your child break this thumb-sucking habit and maintain a healthy and beautiful smile. With years of experience assisting children to break the habit of thumb-sucking, Dr. Shelly Clark and her team are committed to providing your child with the best care possible as they work to ensure a lifetime of healthy smiles.

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What is Thumb-Sucking?

Thumb-sucking is a natural reflex for babies and young children. It is a way for them to soothe themselves and feel secure. Some children suck their thumbs for comfort, while others do it unconsciously or out of habit. It is a normal part of development; most children give it up by age four. However, if the habit persists beyond that age, it can cause dental and speech problems and social stigma. Therefore, it is vital to help children break the pattern in a gentle and supportive way.

What Causes My Child to Suck Their Thumb?

Thumb sucking is often a natural and regular habit for children, especially during their first few years. It is a natural reflex triggered by stress, boredom, tiredness, or hunger. It can also be a way of self-soothing and comforting a child. Sometimes, it can indicate an underlying problem, such as anxiety, lack of attention, or a need for more emotional support.

Does Thumb-Sucking Damage Teeth?

Thumb-sucking can damage teeth if done for long periods, especially after age four. It can cause the front teeth to become misaligned and affect the proper growth of the mouth and palate. Long-term thumb-sucking can also cause the upper and lower teeth not to meet correctly, leading to problems with chewing and speaking. However, if the habit is broken before age four, the long-term effects on teeth are usually minimal.

What are the Long-Term Effects of Thumb-Sucking?

Thumb-sucking is a common habit among infants and young children, but it can have long-term effects on the teeth and mouth if not stopped. Over time, thumb-sucking can cause dental problems such as:

  • Malocclusion, or misalignment of the upper and lower teeth
  • Anterior or posterior open bite, which is when the upper and lower front teeth do not touch
  • Crossbite, which is when the upper and lower teeth do not fit together properly
  • Gaps and spacing between teeth
  • Excessive wear of the teeth
  • Changes in the roof of the mouth

Additionally, the child may experience speech problems due to the misalignment of their teeth. Encouraging children to stop thumb-sucking early is vital to prevent any long-term effects.

How to Break the Thumb-Sucking Habit

Breaking the thumb-sucking habit can be challenging for both parents and children. It is important to remember that it is a normal developmental stage for children.

Start by setting a good example. If you have a habit of biting your nails or sucking your thumb, breaking this before trying to stop your child is essential. Show your child that it is possible to break the habit and that it is not a good thing to do.

Next, it is crucial to be consistent in your approach. Reinforce your expectations, and give positive reinforcement when your child does not suck their thumb. Please provide them alternate activities to do with their hands, such as playing with toys or drawing.

Finally, talking to your child about why they should not suck their thumb is important. Explain that it can damage their teeth and gums and make them look different from other children their age. Focus on the positive aspects of breaking the habit, such as doing things with your hands and smiling more confidently.

Breaking the thumb-sucking habit is difficult and requires patience and dedication from parents and children. However, with the right approach and support, it is possible to break this habit and help your child move forward.One helpful item we recommend is a thumbguard or a great book call David Decides.

Dr. Shelly Clark, the Expert in Breaking the Thumb-Sucking Habit

Dr. Clark understands the importance of providing a supportive and nurturing environment when helping children break the thumb-sucking habit. She uses positive reinforcement and encourages open communication between parents and children. Dr. Clark works with families to develop a plan tailored to each child’s needs. She also educates families on how to support their child in the process best and guides them on preventing the habit from returning. We encourage a progress chart with stickers to be used at home. If your child stops their thumb habit they can come in and get a gift card as a reward!

Dr. Clark’s approach is gentle yet effective. She takes the time to get to know each child and family and works with them to find the best strategy for their needs. Her compassionate care and attention to detail make her an excellent choice for helping children break their thumb-sucking habit.

Thumb-Sucking Dentist in Cedar Hill and Midlothian

Dr. Shelly Clark at Dentistry for Children is an excellent choice for thumb-sucking treatment for your children in Cedar Hill and Midlothian. Dr. Clark is a highly experienced pediatric dentist specializing in helping children stop their thumb-sucking habit. She has extensive training in treating thumb-sucking and has developed a comprehensive approach to helping children and their families. Schedule an appointment today!

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