Can I find an affordable dentist to help me stop sucking my thumb?

I’m wondering if I can find an affordable dentist who can help me get my thumb sucking habit under control. I wish I could just stop cold turkey, but I can’t.

I’m 37 years old and am fortunate enough to have a private office at my job. Most of the time I can work from home and I am single, so most people don’t know I suck my thumb. Stress is a lot of the problem but it’s an embarrassing habit.

Twice within the last 3 months, someone came into came into my office when my back was turned to the door and I was sucking my thumb. Neither colleague mentioned it, but I know they saw me. Otherwise the habit is hidden from my family and friends.

I know that dentists often help kids stop sucking their thumb, but what about adults? I don’t want to have to spend a lot of money on this, but I do need to do something about it. Thanks for your suggestions. Leah



It’s good that you’re looking for options to help get your habit under control. There are some things you can try yourself, without having to worry about finding an affordable dentist for treatment. We’ll name a few:

Brush-on deterrent polish – You can buy over-the-counter, deterrent nail polish and brush it on. The polish is designed to help you stop sucking your thumb or biting your nails. You’ll get a foul taste in your mouth that causes you to take your thumb or fingers out of it.

Cover your thumb – Try covering your thumb with a bandage or something similar that will make sucking it uncomfortable. Although you can easily remove a thumb cover, at least it will make you think before you put your thumb in your mouth.

Address the stress – If you think your thumb-sucking habit is stress related, address the stress. If you have trouble controlling your anxiety, speak with your doctor about it.

You might benefit from massage therapy, counseling, or other stress-reducing techniques. If you can reduce the level of your anxiety, it can help you address bad habits and improve your overall health.

If you continue to suck your thumb, it will eventually affect your bite and the alignment of your teeth. Be sure to ask your dentist for an examination to determine if orthodontic treatment is needed. If your bite has been affected, it’s best to get it treated to prevent other oral health issues.


This post is sponsored by Plano, TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Can I use my free teeth whitening trays as a retainer?

Hi. Just wondering if I can use my free teeth whitening trays as a retainer. I got the trays from my former dentist and I still use them to whiten my teeth. They are in almost new condition. I completed Invisalign treatment 5 months ago and I have misplaced my retainer. The last place I had it was at home and I haven’t traveled recently, so it has to be here. I’m not ready to replace my retainer because I had some unexpected expenses this month. I know I need to wear something on my teeth at least overnight and I am wondering if the whitening trays are okay to wear temporarily or is it better to just go without the whitening trays? Gina.


Your free teeth-whitening trays should not be used as a retainer. There are several reasons why.

Why Teeth-Whitening Trays Shouldn’t Be Used as a Retainer

  • The material is different – Teeth whitening trays are flexible and comfortable to wear. The material is softer than a retainer, because bleaching trays are not designed to keep your teeth aligned. Metal or hard plastic makes retainers rigid so they will hold their shape and keep your smile aligned.
  • It’s too early after treatment – If it’s only been several months since you’ve completed orthodontic treatment, your teeth are still quite subject to movement. If you had been wearing a retainer for a year or more, they would be less likely to shift so quickly. At this point, you want to ensure that your teeth aren’t moving, and free teeth-whitening trays aren’t the answer.
  • Age is a factor – Although you didn’t mention your age, from the teen years into your early 20s, jawbone growth can cause your teeth to shift. It’s critical to wear a custom-made retainer to keep your teeth aligned.
  • Your free teeth-whitening trays really don’t fit – You received your free teeth-whitening trays before you completed orthodontic treatment. They really don’t fit the new position of your teeth. You shouldn’t use them. When you can afford it, ask your dentist for new custom trays. Some dentists provide free or discounted whitening trays as long as you keep your regularly scheduled appointments for cleaning and exams.
  • Consider the risks – Without a retainer, there is always the risk of your teeth shifting, so you shouldn’t go without it at all. If your teeth shift, you will have to resume orthodontic treatment for a short period. This can cost you more time and money than getting a new retainer.

We recommend that you contact your dentist and ask for the cost of a new retainer. If the cost is really out of your budget, ask if your dentist is willing to provide you with a payment plan to make it more affordable. Your free teeth-whitening trays will do more harm than good. There is no substitute for your retainer.

This post is sponsored by Plano, TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.


What can I expect at my sister’s sedation dentistry appointment?

My sister asked me to go with her to the sedation dentist. She is going to get a root canal that she has been putting off for a long time. I convinced her to go to a sedation dentist because the toothache is making her nauseous. She is really nervous about dental appointments, too. I wasn’t expecting her to ask me to be the one to take her to the appointment. I get nervous about anything that has to do with medical or dental procedures. Of course I feel obligated to help her now. Last week, she had an appointment with her dentist to go over the procedure, but I didn’t go with her. I haven’t asked her any questions because I don’t want to give away my own nervousness. Exactly how do I need to help her? What happens if things at the dentist don’t go as planned? Thank you! Elise


It’s good that you encouraged your sister to visit a sedation dentist. An infected tooth will only get worse without a root canal treatment. If it progressively travels throughout the body, the infection can become very dangerous for the patient.

You won’t be with your sister in the treatment room during the root canal procedure. You’ll be waiting in the reception area. A dental hygienist or assistant will give you verbal and written instructions for aftercare. Your sister probably already has those instructions, so without giving away your nervousness, you might be able to ask her to e-mail them to you.

Sedation Dentistry Aftercare

Your sister will be drowsy after her procedure, so you’ll be there to drive her home. She will need to rest, so after she’s home, you can check in on her periodically. There are a few things that can be done in advance:

  • Talk to your sister and help her decide if she will rest in bed or on a couch after her dental procedure.
  • Prepare the area so that when she gets home, she can rest right away.
  • Ensure she has on hand soft foods, cold packs, and whatever the dentist recommends to have at home after the procedure.
  • Prescriptions might be written in advance, and those can be filled and picked up before her dental appointment.

It’s very unlikely that there will be a medical issue during the procedure. The dentist and his or her staff will monitor your sister’s vital signs while she is under sedation dentistry. After you take your sister home, the dentist’s office will be available to answer any of your questions. In the unlikely event of a serious emergency, call 911. Keep in mind that it’s unlikely that there will be an emergency.

This post is sponsored by Plano, TX female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy. Dr. Lacy’s office is convenient to Addison, Allen, Carrollton, Farmers Branch, Frisco, Garland, Highland Park, and Little Elm.