Do we need to see a pediatric dentist to make a thumb-sucking device?

We used to take the kids into a pediatric dentist back when we lived in Louisiana, though I haven’t set them up with one here locally yet. I think it would be easier to keep everyone together at one office, but the last pediatric dentist kept scolding us about getting my six-year old a thumb-sucking device. I’m still on the fence about the whole thing. I think she’ll outgrow it on her own still. If I set everyone up with a family office and she still needs one later, will a general dentist be able to make it or will I have to move her back to a pediatric dentist?  — Amelia

Sometimes an office that’s designed for children helps ease anxious little ones, and that’s where they’re most beneficial. There is also a handful of general offices that won’t see kids until a certain age. However, a family office can see to all the same needs that a pediatric office can and will usually see children at a very young age. If you’re concerned, ask whether the office can make the device when you call to book, although it shouldn’t be an issue at all.

In regard to the thumb-sucking device, it’s something better done sooner rather than later. Your daughter probably has her adult teeth now, and every time she sucks, she’s applying pressure on the front ones. There’s a very good chance her teeth are angled outward already and the longer she keeps the habit, the more damage will be done and the longer it will take orthodontics to correct it. Even if you’re not prepared to go forward with the device, your doctor can give your tips and suggestions to help her curb the habit. It’s generally around age-six that additional interventions are recommended if traditional home-methods don’t work.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Alana Macalik. For more information on the services she provides, visit her Arlington cosmetic dentist website.