Oral habit behaviors include, among others, digit sucking, pacifier sucking, lip sucking and biting, nail-biting, bruxism, self-injurious habits, mouth breathing, and tongue thrust. Nonnutritive sucking behaviors (finger or pacifier sucking) are considered normal in infants and young children and usually are associated with their need to satisfy the urge for contact and security.
Because persistent nonnutritive sucking habits may result in long-term problems, professional evaluation has been recommended for children beyond the age of 3 years, with subsequent intervention to cease the habit initiated if indicated.
Their are many types of Habit Appliances used if necessary:
Kentucky Blue Grass Appliance: Thumb/Finger Sucking Breaking Appliance. This is the least intrusive appliance and easiest for the patient to wear and tolerate. Ideal for patients that want to quit, but need a reminder to help them.
Habit Crib: Thumb/Finger Sucking and/or Tongue Thrusting. More aggressive than the Blue Grass. It blocks the thumb/finger, so the patient can’t suck them. For a tongue thrust, the crib acts as a barrier to prevent the tongue from thrusting forward and help guide it into the palate where it belongs.
Hayrake: This is the most aggressive appliance to prevent Thumb/Finger Sucking. Prongs are added to this appliance to make it as uncomfortable as possible when the patient tries to suck their thumb/finger.
Removable Habit Appliance: Habit loops can be added to any removable appliance. This appliance acts as a reminder to help break the habit with cooperative patients. It is a great option for patients to wear while they sleep to break a Tongue or Thumb/Finger Habit.