Nail biting is a very serious dental issue for a number of reasons. In a growing child, nail biting will actually act like an orthodontic device and move the teeth and bone into a negative relationship. It also can wear the teeth severely, which can further complicate orthodontic issues because it changes the bite. We also see detrimental effects of nail biting in adults as well.
In adults who bite their nails we tend to see more of an issue with tooth wear and or breakage of teeth. I recently had to crown an adult female patients front tooth who was in her 50’s because of a nail biting habit that is persistent. So, what are the treatment options for nail biting.
In children, nail biting treatment can range from a fixed orthodontic device to simpler methods like a nail specific terrible tasting nail polish. In adults, the fixed oral appliances are really not done but rather making the patient aware of how detrimental the nail biting habit is the preferred method. Adults I believe could also use the nail polish that we mentioned. The one that I recommend is a clear coat called Mavala Stop. I used it on my own 3 year old daughter and it works great as long as a fresh coat is applied at least once per week. The key in children who cannot yet read is to not tell them that it is for nail biting. Little girls will likely love putting it on, you might have to consider putting it on little boys fingers while they are asleep. For older more aware kids and adults, then it will be a tool that they consciously use in order to change a habit that to some degree is subconscious. The foul taste really gets your attention and the patient will likely not go back for more.
The length of time and success rate will vary widely. A common time period that psychologists say is necessary to change a habit is 30 days. It is worth a try since its the polish is minimally invasive and very inexpensive. It can also work just as well for thumb sucking and finger sucking.
If you need assistance from an dentist in Victoria, TX for your child or yourself who is having trouble with an oral habit like nail biting, we would be glad to help. Call 361-573-7722