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Keywords

fixed intraoral habit appliances, habit appliances, thumbsucking

Abstract

A critical review of the literature is presented covering the treatment of childhood thumbsucking habits using fixed intraoral habit appliances (hayrake, palatal crib). The habit appliances are classified into type and function. Data is tabulated for key references revealing the fragmented and distorted nature of the literature and its lack of consistency. A chronological approach is presented to confirm the confused and idiosyncratic character of the literature. Information is provided on the early work of Massler and Graber and the paradox of Mack, Komer and Reider. Haryett's seminal studies at the University of Alberta regarding aspects of the treatment used are critically reviewed. Reflections are presented on why Larsson's study,casting doubt on the wisdom of using habit appliances, continues to be ignored. The emergence of the Bluegrass Appliance is discussed in terms of its being a more humane appliance and the seeming reluctance of practitioners to apply it as a kinder form of appliance therapy. Information is reported on the pain and serious injuries inflicted on children by habit appliances. A comparison of the use of appliances in the USA is made with the UK, where fixed habit appliances are not popular. Concludes that fixed intraoral habit appliances are cruel and inflict pain and suffering on children out of all proportion to their necessity. Questions why these appliances continue to be used, implying that it could be a combination of financial inducement, professional insularity and the absence of concerted opposition from behavioral therapists.

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