X-rays are a necessary part of the diagnosis process, and not using them could lead to undiagnosed disease. Without an x-ray of the whole tooth, and supporting bone and gum tissues, there is no real way to detect infection or pathology that requires attention.
Often x-rays can show weakness in the tooth structure that may not be visible with the naked eye. Children need x-rays more often than adults to stay current with the developments in their teeth, since children grow and develop at a much more rapid rate. Once baby teeth in the back are touching, then regular (at least yearly) x-rays are required. If your child is at a high risk of dental cavities, we may suggest having x-rays at more frequent intervals. In our office we use digital radiography which allows us to take x-rays using 50-70% less radiation versus conventional x-rays. Coupled with computer monitoring, digital x-ray technology allows us to enhance the images for better diagnosis of any dental concerns.
The majority of children suck a thumb or finger from a very young age; most even start inside the womb. Sucking is a natural reflex for an infant, and it serves an important purpose. Sucking often provides a sense of security and contentment for a young one. It can also be relaxing, which is why many children suck their thumbs as they fall asleep. According to the American Dental Association, most children stop thumb sucking on their own between the ages of two and four. They simply grow out of a habit that is no longer useful to them. However, some children continue sucking beyond the preschool years (although studies show that the older a child gets, the lower his chances of continuing to suck his thumb.) If your child is still sucking when his permanent teeth start to erupt, it may be time to take action to break the habit.
Should you need to help your child end his habit, follow these guidelines:
-Always be supportive and positive. Instead of punishing your child for thumb sucking, give praise when they don’t do suck.
-Put a band-aid on their thumb or sock over their hand at night. Let them know that this is not a punishment, just a way to help them remember to avoid sucking.
-Start a progress chart and let them put a sticker up everyday that they don’t suck their thumb. If they makes it through a week without sucking, they gets to choose a prize (trip to zoo, new set of blocks, etc.) When they has filled up a whole month reward them with something great (a video game or a toy they have wanted); by then the habit should be over. Making your child an active participant in their treatment will increase their willingness to break the habit.
-If you notice your child sucking when they are anxious, work on alleviating their anxiety rather than focusing on the thumb sucking.
-Take note of the times your child tends to suck (long car rides, while watching movies) and create diversions during these occasions.
-Explain clearly what might happen to their teeth if they keep sucking their thumb.Whatever your method, always remember that your child needs your support and understanding during the process of breaking the habit.