If you are worried about the use of pacifiers for your children, then here are a few frequently asked questions:
What are Pacifier teeth?
Pacifier teeth are a type of misalignment of teeth that happens due to the persistent or wrong use of pacifiers in children. The constant sucking activity disrupts the natural alignment of the teeth. The amount and intensity of sucking also affect the severity and speed with which the teeth damage occurs. The damage can cause issues such as overbite, open bite, and speech problems.
Is it possible to fix pacifier teeth?
Yes, it is possible to fix pacifier teeth. At times, the issues can resolve on their own but this depends on when the child is weaned off. For example, if the child is weaned off before 24 months of age, the issues may go away within six months of weaning off.
Meanwhile, if the issues do not go away, dental intervention is required. Dentists most commonly suggest orthodontics, which involves restructuring how the teeth and jaws connect. A dental specialist, who is trained in orthodontic work, will be able to assess the damage and provide an appropriate treatment option.
What do dentists suggest to fix pacifier teeth?
To fix the damage, dentists will suggest orthodontic treatments like braces, clear aligners, vertical pull chin cups, bite blocks, tongue cribs, and high-pull headgear.
Should parents stop using pacifiers altogether?
Since there are several benefits to using them for children, parents should not stop using pacifiers altogether. For example, a pacifier is known to reduce the risk of SIDS, which is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. However, it is significant to understand the pacifiers the right way (for example, keeping them clean), and knowing the right time to wean the child off so that permanent pacifier teeth damage could be prevented.
Is there a safe way to use pacifiers?
Yes, there is a safe way to use them so parents can access the benefits but prevent teeth damage. Here are a few things you can try for using them safely:
- As the first line of protection, avoid using a pacifier. A change of position or a rocking session might sometimes help to quiet a crying baby. Only give your baby a pacifier after or between feedings
- Choose a pacifier that is one-piece and dishwasher safe. If pacifiers comprised of two sections split, they can cause choking
- Allow your child to set the pace. Do not force your infant to use the pacifier if they are not interested
- Keep it tidy. Boil pacifiers or wash them in the dishwasher periodically until your baby is 6 months old and his or her immune system has matured. Simply wash them with soap and water after 6 months. Refrain from putting the pacifier in your mouth to rinse it. You are merely going to expose additional germs to your child
- Do not put sugary stuff on the pacifier
- Use the appropriate size as per your child’s age and change the pacifier when you notice signs of deterioration. Avoid attaching the pacifier to a string or strap so that there is no risk of it getting caught around the baby’s neck
To get treatment for your children with pacifier teeth damage, call or visit our dental office.