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Habit Appliances

Tongue Trainers

Tongue trainers

The purpose of these wires is to retract the tongue in children whose tongue is pushing forward. This is known as an anterior tongue thrust, which contributes to the vertical space between the upper and lower front teeth, known as an overbite. The philosophy is a non-punitive method to treat a reflex with a reflex.

To help you adjust to them, cover these wires with the wax we have given you for the first 48 hours. It is important to dry off the wires first to help the wax stay in place. It is alright to continue using the wax longer if needed.

Please be careful not to bite into any hard foods and avoid sticky candy or bubble gum (one stick of sugar free gum at a time is OK). These foods can bend and break the tongue wires, resulting in extra appointments to make new wires. You may wish to eat softer foods and take smaller bites the first few days.

Your speech may take one to two days to adapt to the new wires. Practice reading out loud at home and repeat any words that your new tongue position has difficulty making. We coordinate our treatment with other overlapping fields such as speech therapy or Orofacial Myology when indicated.

Thumb Guards

thumb guards from Marin Orthodontists

Thumb guards

For patients with a thumb sucking habit, we use a non-punitive approach of blocking access to the roof of the mouth, which prevents the suction – considered the addictive component of a thumb habit.

For this appliance, we use a traditional expander (“rapid palatal expander” / “RPE”) that is made with thicker wires so they can’t be bent by thumb pressure. This appliance serves as a base to which we add cross wires for better coverage of the roof of the mouth.

Your speech may take one to two days to adapt to the new wires. Practice reading out loud at home and repeat any words that your new tongue position has difficulty making.

If we also need to widen the upper teeth, please use the key to turn the screw as we have shown you, usually twice a week. While some patients can turn the expander themselves, many have a parent, using a small flashlight for better vision, insert the key and turn it towards the back of the mouth. You should feel some slight pressure when it is activated. Please call our office at 415-459-8006 for further instructions if you are unable to turn the key or contact us here to schedule an appointment.

Habit Appliances