Sucking my thumb

I sucked my thumb until I was 13 years old. My teeth have suffered badly. My top teeth are shaped in an upward curve and are out of alignment. I want to get them fixed. What do I need to do to get them to return to normal.

-Jeanie in Kansas


I recommend you find an orthodontist in your area. They will be able to correct the misalignment you have from sucking your thumb. Invisalign braces could solve your problem. Without seeing your particular case it is hard to see if you have other options.

Thumb sucking is a common concern of parents whose children have this habit. The best advice is to not worry too much about it. If you make it a really big deal, you may create a complex in your child. Unfortunately, this will have the opposite affect and will actually reinforce the behavior. Thumb sucking does not cause permanent damage to the baby teeth. This means that you are okay until the age of about seven or so. Most likely, when a child starts school their friends will play a large part into making them stop.

Since you sucked your thumb until the age of 13, it did cause damage to your permanent teeth. So, just relax and for most this behavior takes care of itself.

If you are still dealing with your kids sucking their thumb after losing baby teeth, you may need to do something more. Positive encouragement is the way to go. Don’t force them, punish them, or cause shame. This could have lasting implications on your child’s self esteem.

If it still is an issue, there are aids that can help. Although, these aids have the most success when the child truly wants to quit. So, if they do want to stop then you can try a bitter liquid called Thum. This product and other similar products make thumb sucking unpleasant. This will cause them to associate the bad taste with the behavior and under the right circumstances, it will help.

This post was provided by Gilbert dentist Vista Dorada Dental.

Read more about pediatric dentistry.

Recovering addict needing dental treatment

I am recovering from an opiate addiction and I am currently on methadone maintenance. I really need to get into a dentist as soon as possible since my teeth are in very bad shape. I have extensive dental work that is required. The last dentist I visited wouldn’t give me any pain medication once they learned I was on methadone. I encouraged him to contact the clinic I attend so they could grant permission. My doctor and counselor would have been more than willing to discuss this. In the past I’ve dealt with serious dental anxiety too. Can you recommend a way that I can proceed in attempting to get a dentist to help me. I desperately want to be out of pain.

-Vince from Oregon


Unfortunately many dentists and doctors alike are afraid of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Sometimes it is easier for a dentist to refuse treatment than deal with potential issues that may come out of prescribing pain medication. Some dentists tell about times where they got in hot water with the DEA just because they exercised compassion. Sadly, the patient is the one that suffers as this happens more often.

A good starting point in finding a compassionate dentist would be to find one that practices sedation dentistry or sleep dentistry. Be upfront about your situation and your request for post-operative pain medication. Many dentists are empathetic and genuinely want to help people. Keep looking. You will find someone that can help.

This post was provided by Gilbert dentist Vista Dorada Dental.