By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert
Where did Owen start?
Owen came to us for his first dental visit at 2 years old and we noticed that he seemed to have some issues breathing through his nose. His mom also reported that he sucked on his pointer finger to fall asleep. Owen would also suck on his finger during the day if he was tired. Mom and dad tried to help him stop, but it wasn’t going well.
After giving the family some more time to continue to try traditional methods to help Owen stop sucking his finger, Dr. Elizabeth talked with the family at Owen’s next visit and let them know that Owen may benefit from seeing an ENT to evaluate and intervene for his airway. She also discussed the opportunity to start therapy with the Myobrace Infant Trainer to help him with oral and facial development. Due to his finger sucking habit, he was starting to develop a narrow palate and his lower jaw growth was impinged.
What was involved?
Owen’s parents were ready to start Myobrace therapy with Owen. The goals for the treatment were for Owen to wear the appliance 2 or more hours each day and all night. The Myobrace appliance has a “tongue tag” to help train the tongue to go to the correct position up against the palate. Owen was to work to keep his tongue touching the tongue tag. Owen was also supposed to work on keeping his lips closed and breathing through his nose.
The appliance is great for thumb or digit suckers because it gives them something in their mouth and helps open their airway. This is often why thumb and digit suckers continue sucking after the natural infant instinct to suckle has surpassed 6-12 months – because it gives them support for their airway.
Owen did a nice job working with his appliance. Instead of putting his finger in his mouth, he instead put his appliance in. He was able to stop the finger sucking habit. His mom still wondered about his breathing, however, since he was snoring and struggled to keep his lips closed with his appliance out of his mouth.
Dr. Elizabeth referred Owen to Dr. Rosario, a local ENT, and he underwent procedures to remove his tonsils and adenoids as well as reduce some of the inflammatory tissue in his nose. After these procedures, Owen slept better, stopped snoring, and had a lot more energy during the daytime.
What do Owen and his family think?
Owen’s Myobrace Infant Trainer was very helpful at helping him stop sucking his finger. Owen may benefit from the Myobrace J-series which can help with more jaw growth and development. For now, he is working to keep his tongue in the right spot, his lips closed, and all breaths through his nose.
Owen’s mom reports they are happy they underwent these therapies with Owen. The process was easy and only took about 3 months before he stopped sucking his finger. They are happy to see his improved growth and development. They would strongly recommend anyone where this therapy is recommended to “give it a try!”