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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

any dental experts on line please?

(12 Posts)
mckenzie Thu 27-Aug-09 22:34:07

DS is 8 and has always been a finger sucker. He puts his index and middle finger in, palm side up (ie, hand bent backwards) and has done for as long as I can remember. It used to be during the day when relaxed, watching tv etc but now it is just when he's in bed.

We have tried various attempts at stopping him (finger guard, foul tasting stuff on his fingers, bribery, etc etc) but al to no avail.
He has a few big teeth through (about 6 I think) and it is really noticable now that his upper jaw line is so much further forward than his bottom jaw line and consequently,
his upper teeth (or tooth smile) sits directly over the front of his bottom lip.
His one big front tooth (the other one is just growing through) is now at a sideways angle.

We are obviously concerned for him. Should we be doing anything now or will it be a case of waiting for all his big teeth to come through and then assessing the situation?

TIA

jasper Thu 27-Aug-09 22:46:56

Yes you should definitely be concerned.

It can not only affect his teeth but actually the developing bones of his jaw.

It is very important that he stops this habit now.

Unfortunately as you have found out it is a hard one to break.

ninah Thu 27-Aug-09 22:48:56

I'd make a consultation appointment with an orthodontist

mckenzie Thu 27-Aug-09 23:00:52

thanks guys. Ninah - do i do that via my dentist or via my doctor? (please excuse my ignorance). We do have BUPA - I wonder if it would be covered???

jasper Thu 27-Aug-09 23:47:41

via your dentist. I don't think BUPA covers it and it depends where you live whether NHS orthodontics is available.

However you don't need an orthodontist to confirm his teeth are being affected. From what you say they most certainly are. ( I 'm a dentist)

All an orthodontist can do is fix any damage.If he keeps finger sucking his teeth would revert to their stuck out position even after wearing braces.

At this stage it is a behaviour problem; the dental problem is only as a consequence of the behaviour. It is the behaviour that needs to stop.

However depending on your son's nature , an orthodontist may be able to convince him of the necessity to stop the finger sucking and may be able to reassure that no more damage will occur if he stops NOW.

orthodontists will also have a file full of scary pictures of ugly teeth!

mckenzie Fri 28-Aug-09 17:31:22

thanks very much Jasper. I'll call our dentist on tuesday.

We only changed dentists back in April and the new dentist didn't mention anything then. I do think though that it has just very suddenly started showing.
Ds and i talked about it today and we have offered him another bribe of the new Spurs third kit (he says he wants to stop and I do believe him).
We have also talked about
1) him wearing gloves in bed but I think he'll just take them off in his sleep (my idea)),
2) taping his fingers all together but it might be uncomfortable and he'll rip the tape off in his sleep (my idea)
3) DS sleeping in with us so that i can watch him all night long and take them out of his mouth if he ever starts to suck (DS's idea!!).

I might search the web for some scary pictures too.
Thanks again.

jasper Fri 28-Aug-09 20:32:13

you are on the right track with the Spurs kit!
If it is any consolation, many kids with this habit do seem to be able to give it up at about this age.

I would go back to your dentist in view of what you said about his big front tooth resting over the front of his lip. This is known as a lip trap and can be self perpetuating even if the thumb sucking stops.

My nephew was a chronic thumb sucker and it was affecting his teeth but he managed to give it up completely at about age 9/10 when he properly understood the consequences.
HE is now 13 with beautiful teeth which have not been affected long term.

good luck!

mckenzie Fri 28-Aug-09 21:49:43

thanks Jasper. He's just gone to bed (late night because grandma's birthday) and he actually asked me to strap his fingers together! I've done it with surgical tape, on both hands at his request, so will wait and see if that helps.

jasper Sat 29-Aug-09 00:11:17

oh what a wee darling.
let me know how you get on

mckenzie Sat 29-Aug-09 11:14:54

DH took the tape off when he went to bed as he decided I'd put too much tape on! When i looked in on DS though earlier the tape was all still in place and not damp so presumably it was doing the trick. We're going to try some thin cotton gloves tonight smile

mckenzie Wed 02-Sep-09 21:50:02

jasper - an update. Whether it is the thought of the new Spurs third kit or it's the lashings of Stop and Grow that I have been putting from nail to knuckle on each finger we shall never know. But, for the 4th night running DS has not sucked his fingers at bed time and as far as I know, he hasn't sucked them in the night at all. I redo the Stop and Grow when I go to bed and also if I stir in the early hours to use the bathroom. His hands certainly never feel damp and DS assures us that he isn't sucking. Could this really have worked? How long will I need to leave it to be sure the habit is broken I wonder? And will going back to school on monday have any impact?

mckenzie Fri 04-Sep-09 22:09:40

bump for jasper

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