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

Boyen Huang, Carla Lejarraga, Christopher S. Franco, Yunlong Kang, Andrew Lee, John Abbott, Katsu Takahashi, Kazuhisa Bessho, Pongthorn Pumtang-On

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-241
Number of pages7
JournalInternational dental journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 FDI World Dental Federation.


  • Digit sucking
  • anterior open bite
  • incisive papilla
  • non-orthodontic intervention
  • orofacial myology
  • stomahesive wafer


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