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.