Orthodontic Appliance Spotlight: Bluegrass

Orthodontic Appliance Spotlight: Bluegrass
Posted on 01/11/2018
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At the office of Dr. Carole Randolph, our mission is to help our patients achieve gorgeous new smiles through the most convenient orthodontic treatment possible. We're proud to serve the Palmdale, Santa Clarita, and Valencia, CA area with world-class orthodontic treatment, and we offer a wide variety of orthodontic treatment options to suit the needs of our patients. While our most popular treatments are well-known methods like braces and Invisalign, we offer a wide range of options to patients – including lesser-known orthodontic appliances like the Bluegrass appliance.


What Is the Bluegrass Orthodontic Appliance?

The Bluegrass orthodontic appliance is a simple, clever appliance for the treatment of prolonged thumb sucking. While thumb sucking is a normal and harmless behavior in infants and young children, if thumb sucking continues past age 4, it can impair orthodontic development and cause problems like an open bite – necessitating serious treatment down the road. Stopping prolonged thumb-sucking after age 4 is a great way to prevent serious problems from developing, and the Bluegrass appliance is a simple, effective, child-friendly way to prevent thumb-sucking behavior without upsetting patients.


How Does the Bluegrass Appliance Work?

The Bluegrass appliance is simple, but incredibly clever and highly effective. The appliance consists of two metal bands attached to the rear molars, which connect to a metal frame that runs along the roof of the mouth. At the front of this metal frame, just behind the front teeth, sits a small, acrylic roller that slides and rolls freely along the front of this frame. Neither the frame nor the roller come into contact with the roof of the mouth, ensuring the device remains comfortable for the patient.

Essentially, the appliance has two functions. Primarily, it prevents thumb sucking because the frame gets in the way of where a child's thumb would normally fit – what was once a comforting behavior becomes uncomfortable and difficult. However, habit appliances that prevent thumb-sucking can produce problems if they merely deprive a child of a comfort mechanism. Doing this can cause children to react negatively, as they're unable to cope with difficulties without their prior coping mechanism.

The Bluegrass appliance solves this problem by providing an alternative behavior. Instead of thumb sucking, the Bluegrass appliances encourages a child to flick and roll the roller with their tongue – essentially providing a distraction to the old habit of thumb sucking. This provides a substitute behavior for the child, allowing them to retrain themselves away from thumb sucking without losing a vital coping mechanism. Because of this, the Bluegrass appliance is a favorite option for children who need help breaking the habit of thumb sucking.


Contact Your Valencia & Palmdale Orthodontist

At our office, we regularly use the Bluegrass appliance to help children painlessly abstain from thumb-sucking, retraining them away from a maladaptive habit and helping them protect their dental development without causing unnecessary discomfort. If you have more questions about the Bluegrass appliance or think your child may need help giving up thumb sucking, our office would be happy to help. Give us a call at (661) 222-3000 or request your free consultation today. We'll work with you to develop a comprehensive treatment plan and ensure optimal dental development for your child!