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Old 01-28-2013, 07:46 PM   #1
mrsbornkuntry
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Thumb-sucking device?

My DS's dentist told us today that he needs to stop sucking his thumb because it's affecting his teeth. He said the best way in his experience is to put a thumb sucking device in his mouth for 6 months. I don't doubt that it's a good idea, but my insurance doesn't cover it at all and they want $285 for it.

So my questions are, does anyone have any experiences to share about one of these? Did it work/not work? Was it painful? And my other question, if I'm going to do this, is there a way to make this less expensive? Would it be worth it to shop around and if so can I call around or would each dentist expect to actually see him to give me a price?
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:22 PM   #2
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I wrapped dd thumb with a bandaid and promised a reward for not sucking. The reward was something "big" she really wanted (too many years ago I don't remember what it was) but it worked.
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:30 PM   #3
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How old is your child? My dd was six when she stopped. The dentist also wanted us to get the device although my quote was for $900!!

I figured for that price, I would try some things first. I had the dentist show her the appliance. When we got home I explained that we would have to go that route if she didn't stop. I offered her money. Yes, that's right. She got $5 every morning after one full day of not sucking her thumb. She really wanted to try to quit when she knew there was a prize at the end She asked me to buy her gloves so she wouldn't want to put her fingers in her mouth. We went to Target and I let her pick out two pairs. She wore them during the day and to go to sleep. It took us 5 days ($25 and two pairs of gloves) to break the habit.

The dentist told me that the appliances are not comfortable so I really didn't want to do that. If your child is old enough for reasoning, I would try other methods first. Good luck. It's a hard habit to break. My daughter sucked her thumb a lot. She is eight now and once in awhile she will tell me she misses sucking her thumb.
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:34 PM   #4
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My daughter was a thumb-sucker and ended up needing a palate expander and a short stint in braces to fix the result of her habit...$2400.

$285 is a bargain.
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:48 PM   #5
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I've never heard of a thumb sucking device, but what my parents used for myself and my brother 20+ years ago was they would paint our thumbs with this awful bitter apple stuff. The dentist also had them take away our blankies (which we both now have again as adults!) My thumb has never tasted quite as good since they put the bitter apple spray on there.

They also used the bitter apple spray on the dog when she licked her legs raw from allergies. It doesn't hurt, just tastes awful.
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:59 PM   #6
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I don't have any experience with this, but there used to be a product called Thumb. You could get it at the drug store. You put it on the thumb and it made it taste bad so you didn't want to suck it. To break my DD's finger sucking habit I just told her to stop every time I caught her and praised her when I caught her not sucking her thumb. It didn't take more than a few days.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:00 PM   #7
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My personal experience as a former thumb sucker is that until the child is ready to stop, they will find a way. The kid learns to deal with the bitter stuff for a few minutes and then the taste is gone. If the dental device isn't glued in then they wait until it is out. A motivated, creative kid will find a way. They will also find a way to stop. My reason was going to my first sleepover.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:01 PM   #8
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My daughter's regular dentist said she would need a "habit breaker" to stop the thumb-sucking. The damage was already done to her teeth and I knew she'd need braces. The regular dentist tried to convince me to purchase the "habit breaker" at a cost of about $300.

When I took my daughter to the orthodontist for a consult, I mentioned purchasing a habit breaker. He said it's not needed. Once the braces go on, she will no longer suck her thumb because it will be very uncomfortable.

He was right. $300 saved.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:33 PM   #9
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The bandaid scares me...if a kid did put their thumb in their mouth even with the bandaid that's a huge choking hazard. I'm not trying to knock the person who posted that and I'm glad it worked. I think the gloves or mittens sounds like a good idea but I also agree with another pp that a kid who really wants to do it will find a way.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:41 PM   #10
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He is 11. He completely quit doing it during the day as soon as he started school in kindergarten, but he still does it to fall asleep at night. He's very small for his age so I'm guessing that's why it hadn't bothered his teeth until now, I really thought he would stop on his own before now, but he doesn't go to sleepovers or camp or anything so no one outside of the family sees him at night. It would almost be easier if it was during the day because at least then I could give him gum or something. If I put something bad tasting on it of course he will just wash it off if he wants to because he can. Maybe I could sneak in there and put it on while he's sleeping so if he wakes up and puts it in his mouth he won't want it.

I did explain to him the problem and he understands and he tried for the first time tonight not to do it in bed and came down around 10:00 very upset because he couldn't fall asleep. I suggested he try just laying with his fist against his mouth to see if it would create a similar sensation, but I don't know what else to do for comfort.

The bribing idea isn't bad, I might suggest that and see if it will work. He is big into video games and wants some more Skylanders figures, maybe I will use a reward chart and after so many days he gets some of those.

You've given me some good ideas, I'm not sure which to try first. Maybe a combo of the bitter apple spray and bribe, I already have the spray for my puppies. It doesn't work for them, maybe I'll have better luck with it with DS, lol.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:41 PM   #11
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Get Thumb from the pharmacy. It's a pepper extract you paint on the fingernails and it tastes really bad so they don't want to suck their thumb .
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StitchesGr8Fan View Post
My personal experience as a former thumb sucker is that until the child is ready to stop, they will find a way. The kid learns to deal with the bitter stuff for a few minutes and then the taste is gone. If the dental device isn't glued in then they wait until it is out. A motivated, creative kid will find a way. They will also find a way to stop. My reason was going to my first sleepover.
I agree with this somewhat. My oldest DS was a thumb sucker in his sleep. We did the wrapping the finger with tape, putting a sock on his arm, etc. for years. Dentist suggested the device you talk about last year. DS was horrified at the thought so the dentist actually brought one out for DS to look at. It is a very painful looking piece of metal. I could see the fear in DS's eyes and so could the dentist. He told DS that we'd make the appointment for 6 weeks later and give him a chance to stop on his own. DS hasn't sucked his thumb since that day. We canceled the appointment and his teeth have moved back into their proper place all on their own! It had to be something in his subconscious, he just needed to be frightened enough to make his brain stop even in his sleep.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LockShockBarrel View Post
The bandaid scares me...if a kid did put their thumb in their mouth even with the bandaid that's a huge choking hazard. I'm not trying to knock the person who posted that and I'm glad it worked. I think the gloves or mittens sounds like a good idea but I also agree with another pp that a kid who really wants to do it will find a way.
I agree about the band-aid, at his age he wouldn't put it in his mouth, but he would just take it off. The same with gloves, unfortunately.
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Old 01-28-2013, 10:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShelsGoingToDisney View Post
I agree with this somewhat. My oldest DS was a thumb sucker in his sleep. We did the wrapping the finger with tape, putting a sock on his arm, etc. for years. Dentist suggested the device you talk about last year. DS was horrified at the thought so the dentist actually brought one out for DS to look at. It is a very painful looking piece of metal. I could see the fear in DS's eyes and so could the dentist. He told DS that we'd make the appointment for 6 weeks later and give him a chance to stop on his own. DS hasn't sucked his thumb since that day. We canceled the appointment and his teeth have moved back into their proper place all on their own! It had to be something in his subconscious, he just needed to be frightened enough to make his brain stop even in his sleep.
Hmm, I don't know if it will have the same affect, but I'll google a picture of one and see what he thinks of it. He did tell me at DS's age his teeth should move back so I'm glad to hear that's what happened with your DS.
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:03 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsbornkuntry
My DS's dentist told us today that he needs to stop sucking his thumb because it's affecting his teeth. He said the best way in his experience is to put a thumb sucking device in his mouth for 6 months. I don't doubt that it's a good idea, but my insurance doesn't cover it at all and they want $285 for it.

So my questions are, does anyone have any experiences to share about one of these? Did it work/not work? Was it painful? And my other question, if I'm going to do this, is there a way to make this less expensive? Would it be worth it to shop around and if so can I call around or would each dentist expect to actually see him to give me a price?
My cousin had one of these in her mouth when she was 9 and she figured out a way around it. So Your Ds may also find a way around it. I remember it hurt a lot but she enjoyed sucking her thumb too much to let the pain of the device interfere. My aunt had it taken out because my cousins thumbs got infected. An extreme case but still...
She finally did stop when she wanted to. It took sports and just figuring out she was old enough to stop.

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