Thumb and Finger Appliances in Boston, MA

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What Are Thumb and Finger Appliances?

The habit of finger- or thumb-sucking is common among children and oftentimes brings them comfort during primitive developmental years. However, the pressure that is placed on the structures of their mouth during this habit can halt proper development, cause protruding teeth, a misaligned bite, and even jaw issues. To help prevent this habit, Downtown Boston Dental offers custom thumb and finger appliances, also known as "habit appliances." Made out of resin and metal, these custom-fit appliances work on the upper arch of the mouth to keep the thumb or fingers from putting pressure on the gums behind their front teeth and the roof of the mouth. If your child has a finger- or thumb-sucking habit, we encourage you to contact our Boston, MA office to schedule an appointment to see if a habit appliance would benefit them.

Who Should Consider a Thumb and Finger Appliance?

While it seems harmless, finger- or thumb-sucking can do a number to your child's smile, bite, oral function, and dental health in general. As baby teeth pop out, teeth can become misaligned with the pressure the finger or thumb puts on the gums and teeth, leading to a protrusion of the upper jaw, incorrect lower jaw development, an open bite, crossbite, and more. If your child is beyond the age of three with a finger- or thumb-sucking habit, it may be wise to schedule an appointment at Downtown Boston Dental to have them fitted for a thumb or finger appliance.

Treatment for Thumb and Finger Appliances

During a consultation, we will evaluate your child's teeth and jaw and talk with you to get a better idea of their finger- or thumb-sucking habit. From there, we can determine the best appliance to help break this habit and protect their mouth during these critical developmental years. We can provide a fixed appliance (a palatal crib) that is bonded to the upper teeth, or we can provide a device similar to a retainer that is made out of high-grade materials. Either way, we'll take impressions of your child's mouth, then send them to the dental lab where their custom appliance will be made. After about a week or two, we should get the appliance in and will schedule a follow-up appointment to fit the device and give you use and care instructions. Our family-friendly office is skilled in working with children and will make this process as smooth as possible for both you and them!

Caring for Habit Appliances

Caring for your child's finger- or thumb-sucking appliance should be relatively simple; we will show you how to clean and care for it before you leave our office. It might take a few days for your child to get used to wearing the appliance, but by providing praise and encouragement, you can help them get used to their appliance and break their finger- or thumb-sucking habit. It might also help to provide your child with another means of comfort as they transition away from finger- or thumb-sucking. These appliances tend to work pretty quickly so breaking the habit might be a faster process than you'd think. Once the habit is kicked, we can remove the fixed appliance if you chose that option and will continue to monitor their oral development at their routine checkups.

Insurance Coverage for Habit Appliances

Habit appliances may be covered by your dental insurance, depending on your coverage. Someone from our team will review your plan and let you know if there will be any out-of-pocket expenses. We want you to be able to have great dental care so we offer several payment methods and can help you find medical financing if necessary.

Healthy Oral Habits

Many children comfort themselves by sucking on their fingers or thumb. However, as their teeth develop, this could cause damage to their oral health, function, and development. To help your child's dental well-being, Downtown Boston Dental offers thumb and finger appliances. These habit appliances are custom made to help your child kick the habit of finger- or thumb-sucking. For more information, call our Boston, MA office today.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.