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How to Fix Pacifier Teeth: Treatment Options & Tips

Can pacifiers cause buck teeth, and if yes, how can you fix pacifier teeth? As a Pediatric Orthodontist, parents always come to us with this question. In general, not all babies who suck on pacifiers will have buck teeth, but a percentage of those children under certain conditions will have dental issues in the future. With that being mentioned, we then answer the question of how to fix pacifier teeth. Each treatment plan is different because each child’s condition is different, our pediatric orthodontist added.

In this article, we will explain what pacifier teeth are, how they occur, and how to fix them in both children and adults. Additionally, we will discuss the pros and cons of using a pacifier and provide a general guideline for using pacifiers. Enjoy reading!

What Are Pacifier Teeth?

A pacifier or dummy is a lifesaver for many parents. Because pacifiers do save the day by soothing the baby, babies have a natural tendency to suck on almost everything. Sucking on a pacifier has a calming effect on babies; that’s why parents go for giving their babies a pacifier to suck on. However, prolonged pacifier use comes with some side effects, especially after the age of 3. Prolonged pacifier use can cause dental problems in babies. Those orthodontic issues are collectively called pacifier teeth.

Here, it is worth noting that the type of effect is different from one child to another, but generally, pacifier teeth are identified with the presence of an open bite, which is a gap between the upper front teeth and front lower teeth. The presence of this misalignment is one of the clues that your child has pacifier teeth. If you don’t treat pacifier teeth as they occur, it will cause serious damage to your baby’s overall well-being, not just oral health. We will discuss the pacifier’s use effect in the coming parts of the article.

How to choose the right pacifier? Orthodontic pacifiers are a good option. Remember to choose the right size for your baby’s age and avoid buying pacifiers that come in separate pieces, as they may present a choking hazard for babies.

Can pacifiers affect permanent teeth? Yes, Prolonged pacifier use affects the baby’s milk teeth. Additionally, pacifiers can impact the bone structure of the jaws and the dental palate. In the long term, using a pacifier can lead to the narrowing of the dental arch. A narrow dental palate will also affect the natural alignment of the permeant teeth.

Side Effects of Pacifiers on Baby’s Teeth

Many specialists recommend using pacifiers to help babies learn self-soothing techniques. However, prolonged use can lead to dental problems and oral issues. Here are some common dental problems and oral issues that may arise in babies who use pacifiers.

  • Dental Arch Narrowing: Prolonged pacifier usage is harmful to the development of the natural dental arch. Children with narrow arches have various dental issues. A narrow dental arch is associated with open bite, crowded teeth, and breathing disorders.
  • Malocclusions: Prolonged pacifier use can negatively affect a baby’s teeth, leading to dental misalignment. This may result in conditions such as open bite (gap between upper and lower front teeth), crossbite (upper teeth closing inside the lower teeth), or overbite (upper teeth overhanging the lower teeth).
  • Dental Arch Narrowing: Prolonged pacifier usage is harmful to the development of the natural dental arch. Children with narrow arches have various dental issues. A narrow dental arch is associated with open bite, crowded teeth, and breathing disorders.
  • Speech Problems: The prolonged pacifier can interfere with and negatively affect jaw positioning; it is noticed that children having speech problems have misaligned teeth; moreover, the jaw positioning for these babies changes over time with pacifier use.
  • Cavity and Gum loss: Some parents might resort to dipping the pacifier in sugar or juice. This practice increases the risk of developing plaque. Untreated plaque will negatively affect the baby’s teeth and gums, and the child will suffer complications like gum loss and cavities later.

If you suspect that your baby is facing one of the mentioned issues, it will be better to consult a pediatric orthodontist. You can also contact us on WhatsApp; we can answer your questions on pacifier teeth and how to fix them.

How to Fix Pacifier Teeth?

There are many approaches to fixing pacifier teeth. Not all cases will require the same treatment plan; minimal cases will require little or no intervention at all. While fewer cases will require surgery, here are recommendations from our experts on fixing pacifier teeth for babies and children under the age of eighteen.

  • Braces and Invisible Aligners: Braces and invisible aligners both fix pacifier teeth. Braces are made of metal or ceramic wires glued to the teeth. They are used for more complicated cases, while clear aligners are custom-made plastic trays that fit over the teeth. They are suitable for less severe cases. You can remove invisible aligners while eating and brushing.
  • Tongue Crib: A tongue crib is another kind of orthodontic appliance. It is used to correct the overbite and front tooth thrusting resulting from prolonged pacifier use. It keeps the tongue in the right position. The period for wearing a tongue crib differs according to the case, but typically, children wear it for several months to a year.
  • Palatal Expanders: Expanders are used to correct damage to pacifier teeth by widening the upper jaw, resolving narrowing, and reducing tooth crowding. They apply gentle pressure to create more space for the teeth. Some cases require wearing expanders and then bases.
  • Surgery: In certain rare situations, when a child’s teeth are damaged by prolonged pacifier use, surgery may be recommended to fix the dental issues. During the surgical procedure, one or more affected teeth may need to be removed. This underscores the seriousness of the pacifier teeth issue.

Why should I replace a pacifier every three months?

As babies grow, the size of their mouths and the strength of their jaw muscles change, making the pacifier unsuitable. Additionally, change pacifiers if you notice any cracks or holes because damaged pacifiers increase the risk of fungus and bacteria growth.

How to Fix Pacifier Teeth in Adults?

Extended pacifier use can lead to dental problems for both baby and permanent teeth, affecting natural tooth alignment and long-term oral health. Two approaches exist to fix pacifier damage to permanent teeth in adults.

  1. Orthodontic Appliances: Adults and babies can benefit from braces or invisible aligners recommended by an orthodontist based on the complexity level. Treatment duration varies depending on the option chosen, with more complicated cases taking longer.
  2. Veneers: Cosmetic dentists use veneers to fix various dental issues in adults, such as enamel loss and chipped teeth, including pacifier teeth. Veneers offers a quick solution for adults seeking a bright, white smile. The process take less time than orthodontic treatments. Some cosmetic dentists can fix pacifier teeth with veneers in just one or two sessions.

If you or a loved one are considering fixing pacifier teeth with any of the available options, you can speak with one of our team. Our highly competent dentists will advise you on the best options for your situation. Send us a message today.

Are pacifiers good or bad?

The AAPD supports pacifier use based on each baby’s needs. Pacifiers offer benefits to premature infants and provide comfort. However, parents must understand that prolonged use can increase the risk of ear infections and dental issues.

We’ll outline the pros and cons of using pacifiers. Keep reading to make an informed decision.


  • Calming the Baby: Pacifiers can be a quick way to calm a fussy baby. Sometimes, babies may keep crying despite our attempts to soothe them. Pacifiers can help babies soothe themselves by practicing sucking.
  • Reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages pacifier use for infants, as it may reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
  • Stimulate Sucking Refluxes in Preterm Infants: Pediatricians often provide preterm babies with pacifiers while they are in the hospital. This is because preterm babies are not able to suck on breast or bottle nipples like full-term babies. Using pacifiers can help stimulate their sucking reflex.


  • Dependency on Pacifier: Many babies develop a strong reliance on the pacifier; they will be unable to sleep without the comforting act of sucking. This can pose a challenge when it comes time to wean the baby off the pacifier.
  • Dental Problems: According to the American Academy of Dentistry, using pacifiers for longer than three years multiplies the risks of having various dental problems in children. Dental issues may include a deformed palate (narrowing of the palate), malocclusion, cavities, and gum infections.
  • Higher Risks of Ear Infections: Using a pacifier may affect how the eustachian tube works. Prolonged pacifier use also affects the pressure balance between the nose and the middle ear. A study in Toronto, Ontario, found that 40% of 601 children with ongoing ear infections who needed tubes also used pacifiers.
  • Fungal Infections: Dirty pacifiers can spread fungal infections in the mouth. Thrush is a mouth infection that requires treatment, so pacifiers should be clean at all costs.
  • Sucking Thumps: Using a pacifier may lead to other sucking habits. Many babies begin sucking their thumbs after discontinuing the pacifier; sucking thumbs presents various challenges and disadvantages…
  • Interfere with Breastfeeding: Although research and reviews do not suggest a direct impact on breastfeeding, some pediatricians advise against introducing pacifiers to babies until they are at least one month old, as pacifier use may disrupt breastfeeding.

How to clean a pacifier?

You can clean the pacifier by boiling it in water for 15 minutes or spraying an antimicrobial substance like 0.12 percent chlorhexidine. These practices can minimize microbes such as Staphylococcus, Candida albicans, and Streptococcus mutations.

When can I stop giving my baby a pacifier?

Each child is different, so experts have different opinions, but in general, experts recommend stopping giving your child a pacifier around the age of 12-18 months; you should consult with your pediatrician, to know the best time and tactics.

The Takeaway

Not all babies are the same. Before using pacifiers, try comforting tactics like carrying or swaddling. Avoid using pacifiers to delay feeding or shift attention. Prolonged pacifier use may lead to complicated dental problems. Consider orthodontic pacifiers if needed and limit their use to specific situations like travel or when unable to feed the child.

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