When Should I Wean My Baby off the Pacifier?

Have you ever seen someone with a noticeable “hole” between their top and bottom teeth? Even when they close their teeth entirely, the front teeth cannot fully connect. This issue is likely the result of pacifier teeth; the good news is that it’s completely preventable. Check out these pacifier teeth prevention tips to wean your child at the right time.

How Pacifiers Affect Your Baby’s Smile

Prolonged pacifier use will impact the shape and alignment of your baby’s teeth. A baby’s jaws are incredibly malleable in the early development stages. The pacifier acts as something for the teeth to form around, so they do not connect how they’re supposed to. Your child will likely need orthodontics in the future to correct pacifier teeth and realign their smile.

When to Wean to Prevent Pacifier Teeth

According to the American Association of Family Physicians, you should wean your child off the pacifier as early as 6-12 months old. This will prevent ear infections and other adverse reactions.

From a dentistry standpoint, we recommend weaning around 24 months old. The risk of pacifier teeth increases significantly after that, especially around the 48-month mark. At two years old, your child’s smile still has time to develop correctly and settle into place. Early weaning can save you future headaches with braces, palate expanders, and bite complications.

Learn more about How to Avoid Pacifier Teeth.

Are Orthodontic Pacifiers Safe to Use?

Manufacturers promote orthodontic pacifiers as a safe alternative to traditional pacifiers. They have a flatter nipple to limit the spacing between the top and bottom jaws. Orthodontic pacifiers can still cause pacifier teeth with prolonged use. Wean your child as early as possible.

How to Treat Pacifier Teeth

Treatments for pacifier teeth vary by severity. In most cases, a child must get some form of braces to realign the jaws and smile. The sooner you take action, the easier it will be to correct your child’s smile issues. Contact Clinton Dental Center at (586) 949-5363 to schedule a judgment-free dentist appointment. We work with patients of all ages, and we can personalize an oral care plan for your child.