Influence of non-orthodontic intervention on digit sucking and consequent anterior open bite: a preliminary study

Int Dent J. 2015 Oct;65(5):235-41. doi: 10.1111/idj.12178. Epub 2015 Jul 31.


Objectives: This study aimed to assess behavioural and occlusal outcomes of non-orthodontic intervention (NOI) in a sample of children, 4-12 years of age, in Australia, in order to establish clinical relevance.

Materials and methods: Data from 91 patient records of 4- to 12-year-old children reporting a habit of digit sucking, from two clinics in north-eastern Australia, were de-identified and used. Each patient had been examined at two visits, separated by an interval of 4 months, using standard clinical procedures.

Results: Of the 77 children who received a 4-month NOI, 69 (89.6%) had ceased their digit sucking habit by the end of the NOI period [χ2=67.0, degrees of freedom (d.f.)=1, P<0.001]. Of the 72 subjects who had front teeth, the number with anterior open bite decreased from 37 (51.4%) to 12 (16.7%) upon completion of NOI (χ2=21.3, d.f.=1, P<0.001). Among the 32 patients with a measurable overjet, the mean overjet was found to decrease from 4.2±2.4 mm to 3.1±1.9 mm after implementation of NOI (t=5.8, d.f.=31, P<0.001). Children who received NOI were more likely to quit the digit sucking habit in the 4-month period (P<0.001, OR=51.8, 95% CI: 9.8-273.9) and were more likely to appear without anterior open bite at a 4-month recall (P<0.001, OR=30.0, 95% CI: 5.9-151.6).

Conclusions: This study demonstrated clinical relevance of NOI on the cessation of a digit sucking habit, closure of anterior open bite and reduction of overjet. Further investigations are indicated.

Keywords: Digit sucking; anterior open bite; incisive papilla; non-orthodontic intervention; orofacial myology; stomahesive wafer.

Publication types

  • Clinical Study
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fingersucking / therapy*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gelatin / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Incisor / pathology
  • Male
  • Open Bite / prevention & control*
  • Overbite / prevention & control
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tongue Habits / therapy


  • gelatin film
  • Gelatin