Habit appliances are orthodontic devices that are used to help stop bad oral habits in children, such as thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, and lip sucking. These habits can potentially misalign teeth if they are allowed to continue. At Kids First Dental, you can find habit appliances to correct your child’s oral habit in Martinsville, VA.
Tongue thrusting can be addressed using a device called a tongue trainer. This device resembles a mouth guard and is made to fit comfortably in the patient’s mouth. Depending on the model, it works by either blocking the patient’s tongue from pushing forward between the top and bottom incisors or acting as a retainer when the patient swallows. It may only be necessary to wear the device for a few hours a day, but your dentist may recommend wearing it permanently for a period of time. It is important to avoid biting into any hard foods and sticky candy while using the tongue trainer. These foods can bend or break the tongue wires, leading to extra appointments to make new wires and an extended treatment. Additionally, it may help to eat softer foods and to take smaller bites as the device is being adapted into the mouth.
To address a thumb sucking habit, a thumb guard can be used. This device blocks access to the roof of the mouth, preventing the addictive suction component of the habit. It may take some time to adjust to speaking with the device in place.
A lip bumper helps to curb a lip sucking habit. It is basically a wire that is partially coated in plastic that slides into two metal molar bands at either end. It lines the front side of the lower teeth, removing lip and cheek pressure from the teeth. It works by stretching or widening the arch of the lower jaw so that, every time the patient talks, laughs, or smiles, the lip pushes on the bumper.
If your child has an oral habit that he or she is having trouble outgrowing on their own, a habit appliance from Kids First Dental can help. Make an appointment at our offices to receive a custom-made device in Martinsville, VA.