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Thumbsucking: When To Worry Marietta, GA

Thumbsucking: When To Worry

Does your child suck his thumb? Many parents find it convenient and cute when their baby sucks their thumb for comfort. However, this habit can cause anxiety for parents as the child gets older. At what point does a thumbsucking habit start posing a risk to a child’s dental health?

If your child is approaching kindergarten and still frequently sucks his or her thumb, you have a right to be concerned. Children who still have a mouth full of baby teeth and are under the age of 4 are at less risk for dental problems or bite correction treatments. Keep in mind, however, that your child is still exposed to extra germs and bacteria by thumbsucking, regardless of their age.

When children at 5 years or older still have a strong habit of sucking their thumb, your dentist will likely step in. At this point, the palate can be affected and alignment of their permanent teeth can be compromised. Many parents will notice that their child’s front teeth start to tip towards the lip.

A driving factor in whether or not your child’s thumbsucking habit will affect their smile is the intensity of the action. For example, a child who loosely places his thumb against his teeth may not suffer any complications, but a child who sucks aggressively is at a much greater risk.

If your child is getting ready to start kindergarten and still gravitates towards sucking their thumb throughout the day or during the night, it is time to break the habit. Your dentist can offer options such as a special mouth guard or a bitter medication to coat the thumb. However, some parents find it more effective (or less traumatizing) to first understand why their child’s thumb is going in the mouth. Thumbsucking can be a natural soothing mechanism, and your child may engaging in the habit when they are tired, insecure, anxious or bored. Exploring other alternatives for soothing or comforting your child in those situations can help break a potentially damaging dental health habit.

Always discuss your concerns for your child’s dental health with your dentist. Addressing a thumbsucking habit early can save you costly orthodontic treatment in the future.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV, Gilreath Family Dentistry

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Our Client Reviews
Gilreath Family Dentistry

5.0 / 5.0

Based on 307 reviews


Dr. Gilreath is incredible with my kids. They love going to the dentist now! And this busy mom loves the warm neck wraps, the soft music and enjoying a latte while I relax!

Kenneth H.

Was lucky enough to find these guys when I got insurance that my old dentist did not take. Very professional and friendly staff! Office has the latest greatest technology as well. If you're looking for a new dentist, search no further!

Susie L.

Very personable and friendly, they took the time to go over my complex dental history and did not pressure me into anything. They gave their recommendations and priced out any options I had. Great group!

Camille Y.

Dr. Gilreath and his staff are top notch. I received the best cleaning I've ever had while watching my favorite show. The Doctor and his staff were all very polite, friendly, and courteous. They explained everything to me clearly and presented me with options in a gentle way that didn't make me feel pressured at all. It's obvious they really care about the wellbeing of their patients. The facility and equipment is really nice as well. I will definitely be back!

Juan R.

Always willing to work around my kids and my schedules. Today I had a long appointment. They started on time and always made sure I was comfortable and that the pain was managed so the procedure could’ve been completed without issues. Very courteous and professional staff.

Lucia B.

Awesome dental practice! The staff is friendly and efficient. Dr. Gilreath is thorough and versed in the latest technology and procedures. I love that he can make crowns in the office while you wait (so no walking around with a temporary crown for days or weeks). I would strongly recommend this dental practice!

Matthew W.

I've been going here for about a little over a year now. I've had a few cleanings, a filling, and started Invisiline so far. Hands down, the best run dental office I've ever been to. In the past at other dental offices I often had to wait 30 or more minutes beyond my appointment time before being seen. At Dr. Gilreath's office I've been seen on time every time. They seem to have systems in place to make every part of your visit run smoothly. From how they took x-rays, to billing and appointments, to the work done by the hygienist/dentist, everything seems to run like a well oiled machine. On top of that all the staff are all friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. The office space itself is also quite nice. Very clean, well maintained, and seems very "up to date" with their equipment. If you're looking for a dentist and are anywhere in the northwest metro area I would highly recommend Dr. Gilreath.

Jhion R.

The staff is always so courteous and personable. They make us feel like family every time we have an appointment. Service is excellent, too. My wife recently went for a cleaning and Dr. Gilreath noticed a chip in one of her fillings. He knew we recently had another baby and that her time was very limited so he went ahead and did the filling right then and there, an extra thirty minutes tops. Dr. Gilreath is always looking at the big picture and really knows his stuff. We will never go anywhere else

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