The Dentist

Kalena and Will went to the dentist last Friday (way, WAY longer than 6 months after their last appointment. WHOOPS.) Anyway, things look good. No cavities and they complimented us on good dental habits (we brush their teeth, then let them do it.)

HOWEVER. The dentist recommended we get Will to stop sucking his finger. Right now he’s at a high risk of needing braces as a result. We knew he’d need to stop eventually, but we didn’t really think it’d be a big deal to get him to stop. We just didn’t think he was doing it all that much. HA. Now that we’ve been watching and trying to remind him to take his finger out of his mouth? We’ve seen that he does it All. The. Time. WAY more than I thought he was. And it’s pretty apparent that he really doesn’t want to stop. He was open to the suggestions for the first couple days, but that wore off. In the last couple days these are his responses when I remind him to take his finger out of his mouth:

“I’m just getting the germs off it.”

“You not talk at me!”

“I not want to.”

And the best one:

“I’m not!” (Not sucking on his finger. Said while sucking on it.)

The dentist recommended we put Desitin on his finger to make it taste bad, but I’m not sure I want to go that route just yet. So. Anybody have any great tips to get him to stop?

14 thoughts on “The Dentist

  1. Claire has been a thumb sucker for a year and a half and it makes me ABSOLUTELY INSANE. We have tried so many things (sticker charts, taking away privileges, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, straight up yelling/nagging, etc) and nothing works. NOTHING! NOTHING AT ALL AND IT IS SO FRUSTRATING.

    And then Noemi wrote that post of hers about sucking her thumb and I didn’t know adults did this and it could last and last and last and really, I wouldn’t care except 1) I feel like it brings home a lot of germs and 2) Braces, I don’t want her to have them for a fully preventable reason.

    Ugh. Agh. Etc.

    The 4-year Ames and Ilg book says that at this age she will not be receptive to us getting her to stop and that in a few months or so it might just drop on its own. I am…skeptical. But in the meantime NOTHING WORKS. The only thing we haven’t tried is just straight up ignoring it, which is so hard for us to do. But, I think Chris and I are going to try and not mention it, give it the side-eye, etc for 30 days and see what happens.

    I can tell it’s just a thing she does, and she doesn’t even realize she’s doing it, which is totally what makes it such a bad habit to break. I have empathy (I am a nail/cuticle biter!) but at the same time just STOP PLEASE STOP CLAIRE. It’s making her thumb red and scaly and the skin is just RAW.

    Claire hasn’t been to the dentist yet (one of the reasons being I don’t need to pay to have someone put braces-bills nightmares in my head as they are already there), but I suspect the advice might be the same.

    Hi, I left you a novel for a comment SORRY I HAVE NO HELPFUL ADVICE.

    • I know Will isn’t aware, because sometimes we remind him to take his finger out and he does and then SECONDS later it’s creeping back up in, obviously not consciously. I’m only sort of worried about the braces actually, because I NEVER sucked my thumb/finger and I had horrible teeth (in fact, first time my mom took me in for a consult the orthodontist took one look and said, “Thumb sucker?”) while Brian sucked his thumb forever (he was old enough to remember quitting) and has perfectly straight teeth. So maybe it’s the finger, maybe he has my horribly aligned teeth. But this little trial makes me worry about how hard it’s going to be to get him to quit.

  2. Uhhh, good luck. I don’t remember why I eventually stopped sucking my thumb. Maybe it just faded away? All I know is I was 7 and nothing my parents had tried ever worked. HOWEVER, my sister sucked her thumb until she was 5 and she never needed braces.

    I had braces for four years. My other sister, who didn’t suck her thumb, had them for several as well. So, for our family, it was a crapshoot. The longest braces-wearer was also the longest thumb sucker, but the other thumb sucker DIDN’T have braces and the non-thumb sucker DID.

    • Brian was like you- nothing his parents did got him to stop. He finally did on his own, but he remembers it so he was definitely older than Will. Also, despite all that he has straight teeth. I never sucked my thumb and had braces for YEARS. So, crapshoot here too.

  3. Not a success story really, but technically my son stopped sucking his fingers when we substituted a blanket. We have dozens that get washed frequently. This was fine when he was a toddler, but now that he is in school he can’t very well carry a “chewing blankie” around so he began chewing holes in his clothes. His teacher suggested straws, which are effective, but still wish he’d stop all together. He gets his oral fixation from me – I remember my mom cutting of the front of my hair so I couldn’t chew on it. That mullet scarred me for life! I’d be interested in solutions, too.

    • He already has a bear that’s a “lovey” so I don’t know that he’d take a blanket too! Brian totally has an oral fixation, so that is probably where Will gets it. Actually, I considered starting him on gum chewing, but he’s still young enough that he just swallows it after a few minutes.

  4. Maybe a bandaid on the sucking finger? I’ve always been so grateful that my kids aren’t/weren’t attached to pacifiers or thumbs. I would have such a hard time trying to eliminate a habit like that (another cuticle/nail biter here).

  5. “I’m just getting the germs off it.”
    YES, that’s exactly what you’re doing, and your germaphob Aunt says STOP IT RIGHT NOW!

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