Covid 19 Response & Office Reopening Procedures

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we have implemented several safety precautions and procedures to help maintain the health and safety of our patients and our team. Click to learn more.

How Can Thumb Sucking Cause my Child to Need Braces?

Thumb sucking is common in young children. Most kids will stop the habit around two to four years of age, but there are some who keep doing it until they are much older. Past four years of age, parents need to be aware that this habit could alter the alignment of their child’s teeth and jaw.

Continue reading to learn if thumb sucking can cause the need for braces, and how it impacts your child’s smile. We also share tips to help your child break the habit and treatment options available in Mississauga.

boy thumb sucking in bed

How Does Thumb Sucking Impact My Child's Teeth?

Thumb sucking that persists beyond the eruption of primary teeth can, and usually does, cause improper growth of the mouth and misalignment of the teeth.

The most obvious sign that a child sucks their thumb is changes to the front teeth. The sucked thumb or finger can cause the upper front teeth to protrude forward. This protrusion is also known as an overbite, or ‘buck teeth’. The constant pressure from the hand in their mouth can also cause the lower front teeth to tip forward.

An open bite can also occur with thumb sucking. This means the upper teeth don’t overlap the bottom teeth when the back teeth are together. The thumb or finger has created an opening between the top and bottom front teeth and prevents them from meeting.

impacts of thumb sucking openbite and protrusion of front teeth

What Other Problems Can Be Caused Due To Thumb Sucking?

A child’s speech can be impacted by an open bite. Straight front teeth help pronounce some letters. A lisp may be heard when they say the s and z sounds. Without speech therapy and orthodontic treatment later on, the lisp can remain into adulthood.

The shape of our jaws influences the shape of our face. An overbite where the front teeth are pushed forward to accommodate the thumb, is likely to change the overall look and shape of a child’s face. Orthodontic treatment can reverse the face shape changes.

Will Sucking A Dummy Cause My Child To Need Braces?

Parents often wonder if they should have introduced their baby to a dummy rather than let them suck on their thumb, however a dummy isn’t much better. They can still cause jaw and teeth alignment problems if they use it long and often enough. No shape or brand of dummy is better than another at reducing teeth and jaw risks.

How Can I Stop My Child From Thumb Sucking?

Parents should encourage their child to stop the habit beginning around 3 years of age. The sooner the habit ceases after age 4, the lower their risk for developing problems. To help your child stop sucking their thumb, try the following tips:

  • Remind your child to take their hand out whenever you see them sucking their thumb. 
  • Offer a reward if they stop sucking their thumb for a certain time.
  • Wearing a glove can remind a child not to put their hand in their mouth.
  • Applying nail polish can act as a reminder and encouragement not to damage their manicure by putting their thumb in their mouth.
  • Keep them busy. If they are doing things with their hands, particularly if they are dirty, they are less likely to put their hands in their mouth.  
  • If needed, our team can fabricate a thumb sucking appliance to make it less enticing for kids to put their thumb in their mouth.

What Is A Thumb Sucking Appliance? How Does It Work?

Different types of thumb sucking appliances are available that are specifically designed to break the early childhood habit. The dentist attaches a mechanical device by wires to rear molars, extending to the front of the mouth. These devices work behind the upper front teeth at the roof of the mouth to either block or cause a firm pressure when sucking of the thumb is attempted.

thumb sucking appliance

If you believe your child could benefit from a thumb sucking appliance, click here to schedule a consultation with a dentist at Britannia Dental Care.

Does Thumb Sucking Cause A Need For Braces? How To Correct An Open Bite And Overbite.

These problems in your child’s ‘bite’ or occlusion, can be corrected orthodontically. If you think your child may need braces to correct their dental problems, contact our team for a free consultation. If you’re aware of your child’s thumb sucking habits, please reach out to us as we may be able to intervene and eliminate, or at least lessen the development of orthodontic problems in the future.

braces timeline transformation of patient with open bite due to thumb sucking Orthodontic transformation of a patient with an open bite due to thumb sucking.

If you have any questions regarding your child’s dental health, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Click here to schedule an appointment at Britannia Dental Care, or call: 905-785-1412, email:


Britannia Dental care for all your family dental needs in Mississauga, beautiful smiles, visit regularly

Connect With Team Britannia on Social Media

Connect with us to receive oral health care tips, tricks and the latest offers and advancements at Britannia Dental Care. We look forward to seeing your beautiful smiles!

Britannia Dental care on Facebook instagram twitter linkedin Mississauga dentist social media. keep up with us until your routine dental visits

We are active on the following social media platforms:

Psst…! Our team strives to provide you quality dental care, and insightful blog posts, we would appreciate if you could leave us a review on Google. 
Monday : 9:30 AM - 8:00 PM
Tuesday : 9:30 AM - 8:00 PM
Wednesday : 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Thursday : 9:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Friday : 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Saturday : 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Sunday : Closed

Britannia Dental Care
5925 Grossbeak Drive
Mississauga, Ontario,
L5N6S5, Canada
© Copyright Britannia Dental Care   |   Dentist Web Design by Platinum Design