22 year old thumb sucker, will Invisalign work if i stop? (Photo)

I am 22 years old and have always sucked my thumb. My teeth are relatively straight and my overbites not too bad but as a result of thumbsucking my canines point inwards and make me look like a vampire! My dentist told me that Invisalign would probably work for my case but i've read some reviews saying its not possible for people who have sucked there thumb. I really want to stop sucking my thumb but I need to know if its too late and the damage is already done !

Doctor Answers 2

Invisalign and Thumb Sucking

As personal note, a very good friend of mine and dental school classmate was a thumb sucker even in dental school. At our advanced age, mid 20's at the time, she could not resist and would resort to her habit at stressful times, and in dental school, the stress was off the charts most of  the time. And so it is a behavioral habit that persists. Thumb sucking generally reshapes the roof of the mouth causing a deformation of the palate and generally, only surgery and orthodontics can resolve the problem. Your photo only gives limited information, but any ill effects from your habit seems relatively minor.  Invisalign will not affect your behavior very much, but it may improve your aesthetics, and if you are faithful in your retainer wear, your long term outlook may be acceptable.  Once the teeth have moved to the desired position, the retainer should keep them in place. An old adage is that "nothing beats a try but a failure," so give it a try. Find a Invisalign certified orthodontist or general dentist for a consultation! Best wishes!

Stop the habit first

I generally won't start a treatment unless I feel to patient is psychologically ready to stop sucking his/her thumb because if the habit persists after treatment, relapse will occur 100% of the time. Thumb sucking is usually a psychological behavior meaning that it provides a positive reassuring feeling for kids at early age and can persist into adulthood. The key is to recognize the habit pattern and substitute this habit with a different habit that provides a similar level of positive feeling to break the habit. Invisalign will work for mild anterior open bite but if it is severe traditional braces are the most efficient. Before you decide to spend money on treatment, you should be committed to stop the habit.

Chia-Hung Lin, DDS
New York Orthodontist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.