Children frequently put their thumbs and fingers into their mouths. Finger and thumb sucking put orthodontic like forces on the teeth and growing jaws causing a number of negative oral developments. Open bites (front teeth that don’t touch when the patient is biting down), constricted and V-shaped upper jaws, and protruding front teeth and jaws are frequently seen with long term thumb and finger habits. Tongue thrust habits also frequently accompany thumb and finger habits can put long term negative forces which on the teeth even after the habit has stopped and the patient has started comprehensive orthodontic treatment.
Frequently children want to stop these habits but are unable to do so on their own. A simple appliance that is shaped like a football is inserted perpendicular to the roof of the mouth and acts as a deterrent. The appliance is usually cemented to the molar teeth using orthodontic bands and is left in place until the patient is habit-free for three months. Often times spontaneous close of a significant open bite will occur without further orthodontic interception. The same appliance can be used as an aid in alleviating a tongue thrust or to improve resting and swallowing tongue posture.
Habit appliance to stop active thumb sucking habit; bite closed down without additional treatment