The Aftermath of Thumb Sucking

Can you help me? I have a teenager who is still sucking her thumb and now her teeth are protruding quite a bit. She’s starting high school soon and I want her to feel beautiful. But, they’re not just an overbite. They’re also kind of curved. What will fix this AND is there anything which can help her with this habit?

Tracy

Dear Tracy,

Smiling young woman with braces

I agree it is important for a young woman to feel confident and attractive. In fact, confidence is attractive. Because of the issues facing your daughter’s teeth, I’d suggest you see an orthodontist. She will need braces. These will fix both the problems of inclination and position simultaneously.

As for aiding her in giving up the thumb sucking, the first thing to do is not use punishments or shaming. You want her to grow up confident, not worried there’s something wrong with her. However, the thumbsucking has to stop or her teeth will continue to go out of alignment.

The easiest way is to use a product called Thum. It’s an unpleasant tasting liquid you can paint on her thumb. It should help her break the habit.

It’s important she’s careful about brushing her teeth during braces. Let her know ahead of time it’s harder. She’ll have to really work to get in there. It would help her to have a water pick too, which helps with getting food trapped around the bits of metal.

Too often we see white spots on teeth after braces. This is decalcification, which is the precursor to decay.

After Orthodontics

When her braces are done, she’ll be given a retainer to wear. It’s important she wears that or her teeth won’t stay in the proper position. You won’t be starting over, but you will have to do some repairs after shifting without that retainer.

With healthy teeth, there usually isn’t much a teenager needs to do cosmetically. However, some prefer to have their teeth whitened after they finally get their braces off, giving them a fresh look along with the straighter teeth.

This blog is brought to you by Tulsa Dentist Dr. Ryan Noah.

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