Behavioral Habit Therapy
A habit is a behavioral pattern that has a tendency to be repeated frequently. We all strive to build, grow and maintain good habits, but we are all guilty of having bad habits as well. Habit therapy is about several bad habits that are detrimental to your child’s oral health, or possibly even yours. We’ll identify the habits that many children naturally participate in and the necessity to terminate those habits. There is a bad habit that goes beyond childhood that may include you as an adult. We’ll look at the habit therapy that can quickly correct these practices and then we’ll look at some good habits that can and should come out of habit therapy.
The Habit Therapy Solutions
We will start with behavior and cognitive therapy. Sometimes it only takes a good conversation with Dr. Pan for your child to realize what the problem is and stop the habit. Of course, we need a team approach where family can help positive reinforcement to encourage the child to break the habit. Some malocclusion is self-corrected after stopping the habit.
For patient who sucks finger or thumb, a heavy pressure to the roof of kids’ mouth and the negative pressure created by the motion of sucking can often result in a high vault, narrow mouth that is doomed for more problems, such as crowding, crossbite and facial asymmetry. We have had huge success with Rapid palatal expander, which not only physically occupies the space for the finger or thumb against the roof of the mouth, but also reverts the damage finger sucking has caused to the palate.
Another simple device to correct both thumb sucking and tongue thrusting is called a tongue crib. Once Dr. Pan and yourself consult and evaluate the situation, a tongue crib can be easily fitted and will correct the problem in a very short period of time.
Once x-rays are taken then digital impressions are made of the teeth. A tongue crib or expander is a custom-fabricated appliance made from the model that comes from the dental impression. The appliance is a semicircular set of wires fixed to the upper teeth. The wires prevent the thumb or finger from touching the gums behind the teeth. It removes the enjoyment of sucking the thumb. Basically, it looks like a retainer you wear after braces. The tongue crib will have the same positive results for tongue thrusting.
If you or your child grind your teeth a simple solution that Dr. Pan can help you with is the fitting of a night guard. Visually looking like a sports mouth guard the night guard will create a barrier between the upper and lower teeth to stop any grinding damage and then acting as a cushion it will reduce the stress and relax the muscles that are associated with the temporomandibular joint. This is the joint between your lower jaw and your skull which takes a lot of abuse when grinding.
Pan Orthodontics Philosophy
To treat our patients as our families and to treat others as how we want to be treated. From your first phone call to the moment your new smile is born, everything in our office is set up to ensure an excellent experience with us. We will always listen to you and improve with your suggestions.
Our Commitment to You
We will continue to keep up with the ever growing digital technologies to improve your orthodontic experience. We also commit to always help you find the most convenient time for your visit with us.