para-functional habit is the habitual exercise of a body part in a way that is other than the most common use of that body part. Children often outgrow these habits, but sometimes need extra help to prevent damage.


Tooth grinding is common in children under the age of 7. While children are young, before there are permanent teeth present, their bites are flexible and change as they grow. Children may grind due to an abnormal bite or the placement of the teeth. Once the first permanent molars erupt at about 6 years old, the permanent bite begins to establish itself and tooth grinding tends to subside. Stress related grinding is common in the middle school and high school aged students, especially during testing times. Dr. Govindaiah of Springfield Pediatric Dentistry will monitor your child’s bite as well as chipping and wear patterns of their teeth.

Sucking is a normal and natural experience for young children, often beginning before your child is born. Most children stop finger, thumb or pacifier habits by 2 to 4 years old. In children that continue their habits, the front teeth may tip forward or not come in properly. The amount of time per day and the intensity of the sucking can affect the extent to which the habit will impact your child’s teeth. Continued habits can cause permanent deformation of your child’s mouth. In cases where a significant change has occurred, early orthodontics may be indicated. Dr. Govindaiah will work with you and your child to find a way to stop the habit as soon as possible.