Pacifiers are the key to contentment for many babies and the key to sanity for their families. Normal pacifier use during the first few years of life doesn’t cause long-term dental problems. However, prolonged pacifier use might cause a child’s teeth to be misaligned or not come in properly.
The risks of pacifier use begin to outweigh the benefits as your baby gets older. While most kids stop using pacifiers on their own between ages 2 and 4, others need help breaking the habit. As children get older it becomes more difficult to break this habit. Some of the techniques that our patients have utilized with certain success include:
– Hold a special ceremony to bury or otherwise discard the pacifier
– Allow their child to trade in his or her pacifier for a special book or toy.
– Other parents have taken the drastic step of cutting a small hole in the pacifier so that it “stops” working.
– An interesting approach is to leave the pacifier for Santa to take instead of cookies.
– Sometimes Dr. Rojas has been successful at explaining the potential impact of prolonged pacifier use on his or her teeth and they have surrended it to her.