Pacifier use


New Member
Hi there,
I haven't been around in quite a while but when a new issue arose at my house, this is the first place I thought of turning to for answers.

Obie is now 3 years 10 months old. He has a prelim diagnosis of ADHD/ODD (BIG time ODD). He is not yet medicated although we have an appointment with a psychiatric at the end of the month. He attends the local sped preschool 4 morning per week (he qualified based on social emotional delay and/or behavioral issues). He does have some sensory issues, mostly sensory seeking and I have him in private Occupational Therapist (OT) once a week with a sensory diet at home.
My question is this....he still uses a pacifier to sleep and it's really affecting his teech. His bite is now quite open and it's worrying us. 4 years old seems so old for pacifier use, but he's not like every other kid...more intense, hyper,distracted, you guys know the drill.
My husband is really pushing me to end the paci use but I'm afraid. It's one of the ONLY ways that Obie knows to calm/organize himself and I am scared to death to take that from him. I'm thinking of taking him to the ortho to see if they can give him any type of appliance NOW, while he's still using the paci, to minimize the damage to his oral health.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
I generally don't reply on this goes though.

kt, who is 12 going on 13, still uses a pacifier to calm herself. Not as much as she did a year ago - a lot less the 3 years ago.

Having said that, our pediatrician dentist is aware of kt's emotional disturbance & is working with us on keeping her teeth healthy. His response to this - she may have a beautiful smile but if she isn't functional why bother?

I appreciated the common sense in the pediatrician dentist's statement.

In the meantime, kt uses gum (your difficult child is probably too young) as a substitute; we've also used baths & herbal teas at night. I rub her back until she falls asleep. She needs her pacifier less & less.

Just wanted to share what happens here - don't know if this will help.


Active Member
My difficult child has sensory issues (both oral and self calming) which were unbeknownst to us at the time he was still using his paci. I kept putting it off for one reason or another and then just yanked it one night when he was approaching age 4. I waited until a Friday night when my husband was here to handle the other kids. I had to hold him and rock him to sleep for about two weeks. He did have a blankie which made it easier but still not easy.

I don't regret doing it--it was not fun for a few weeks but then it was all over and we never looked back.


New Member
Thanks Ladies. It's good to hear the advice from both camps. He's approaching his 4th birthday and we've already mentioned to him that the birthday is the paci limit.
Lots of mulling over in store for us this weekend...........

thanks again


Trying to save the day.
My son is also 3yrs 10 mos and occasionally still takes his paci. He was completely broke of it right around age 3 but found one about 2 months ago and wanted it and I let him have it. Before giving up the paci he also had a very open bite. He could literally put his finger in his mouth between his top and bottom teeth when biting down. The poor thing had a hard time eating anything that required him to bite off pieces like a sandwich or piece of pizza. I am not exagerating when I say that his bite was completely corrected within a month of giving up the paci. Their little bones and connective tissue are still very pliable at this age, so I personally don't think you should worry so much about his bite. My daughter never took a pacifier or sucked her thumb or fingers, and when she was 5 I took her to an orthodontist because of an underbite. He said she also had a crossbite and put in a semi-permanent retainer. She had it for about 6 months and now 5 years later still has a perfect bite. It cost about $750 and let me tell you, if my difficult child still demanded a paci all of the time, the $750 to fix his bite would be well spent if it meant he had a way to calm and sooth himself.

My daughter had a daycare teacher when she was 4 who tried to take away her stuffed animal and blanket that she slept with (and still does). I asked the teacher if she smoked, which the lines around her mouth told me she did. When she said yes, I told her that when she gave up smoking that she could then talk to me about taking away my daughter's security items. She never withheld the items again. This is my theory for all of the adults who think a child, easy child or difficult child, should have a security item taken away before he is ready to give it up on his own. The adult better not have any vices of his own. If he smokes, has an occasional drink, drinks coffee or coke, or has to sleep with a particular pillow, he needs to give it up or shut up!!!
When my difficult child was well into her 3rd year (may have been 3 1/2), we told her that the "binky fairy" was coming. We gave her plenty of notice. One night, we removed all the pacifiers from the house and replaced it with a toy.

Much to my suprise, it worked.

Potty training her was another story...


Active Member
mightymouse, I do agree about the security item but when it comes to a paci it's in a different category than something like a blankie. There are dental, speech, and social acceptance issues with pacifier use that don't exist for a preschooler using a blankie or stuffed toy.


New Member
<sigh> Everyone has brought up such good points that I don't feel any closer to a decision....
I could argue both sides! On one hand, it's so calming and soothing to him I hate to take it away, considering his special needs. On the other, I agree with SRL, I worry about his speech, dental health AND the social/cultural issue.
What happens when he's 5 or 6 and wants to sleep at his cousin's house? He'll probably feel embarassed to have his paci.....grrrrrrrrrr, I wish I weren't so wishy-washy (something I'm working on with MY therapist) :smile:

thanks again, anyone still interested in voicing their opinion, I'd still love to hear them. Thanks much.


Well-Known Member
Duckie used a pacifier for about 36 hours as an infant. The house was peaceful. husband & I relaxed because her constant screaming stopped. Then she spit it out and refused to take it again. I'm not ashamed to admit I cried. I thought you'd like a story from the other side, lol.
I suppose I would find a suitable substitute for difficult child. Maybe a really cool stuffed animal that is, unfortunately, horribly allergic to pacifiers. He wants the toy, then he has to give up the soother.


New Member
Both of our smaller children see a Pediatric Dentist in Indiana, he is the greatest ever...and I overheard him talking to a parent once about an older child that had not been able to cut the pacifier habit. I can't really recall too many of the details, but if you have a Pediatric Dentist close by, try to get your child in for an examination, and if they don't have a special fixture or something that they can give you, I know that they can at least give you some pointers on what types of Paci's are okay. They have some out now that don't have the same dental problems as they used to.
For what it's worth, my easy child 3/difficult child in the making, still uses her "Binki". We now have limited it to just in her bed. So, when she is feeling the need for some comfort, she now takes herself to her room and has a few sucks. LOL! I agree with Linda's difficult child's dentist, if a child isn't capable of coping, a great smile certainly isn't worth it to me. I do not allow her to walk around with it, makes me nuts to hear her talk while Binki is in her mouth. I am sure we are looking at braces in her future, but my olders never took a Binki and they still had to have braces.

All I can say is, I have no ending date for Jayme's Binki "disappearing", I feel she will just use it less and less and eventually won't need it anymore. She has enough other issues, if her Binki gives her some comfort, I don't plan on taking that away from her.

Good luck with your decision!



I never took a pacifer. I spit it out and sucked my thumb instead. I sucked my thumb until I was 9 years old. Once I hit school age, it was pretty much at night or when I was upset. I never did it at school. I never needed braces.

I would talk to the dentist, but I agree with the others that said having a coping mechanism is better than a great smile. If it were my child, I would allow him to use it as a coping mechanism until he can learn another form of coping.


Well-Known Member
My kids never took a pacifier but my middle one was a thumb sucker. He also had a blanket that he called "suckie" that he used when he sucked his thumb and went to sleep. That poor raggedy blanket went everywhere with him.

When he started school he had to cut off a corner and tuck it into his pocket. He sucked his thumb at night well into his teen year and I have heard stories that if he gets a tad bit too drunk he has been known to stick that thumb back in his mouth...lmao.

He had his "suckie" up until he left for boot camp when his girlfriend took it. He wanted to take it with him but we persuaded him not to...lmao. He did manage to sneak a tiny little frayed corner in with him. This blanket used to be blue but it had become this weird, grayish blue white soft thermal thing!

Even with his thumb and blankie...he managed to grow up to become a Marine!

saving grace

New Member
For some reason my first post disappeared so I apologize if it shows up here somewhere.

My babygirl will be 5 in June, she is a picture perfect child, no emotional or developmental problems, she has one vice and that is her nite nite (binkie) she has always and only ever had it in her bed, we have tried to take it away before and have always given it back Occupational Therapist (OT) her. She like its, I have no worries about it.

If his bink calms him and it "works" let him have it, he will let it go when he is ready, Our kids have enough problems in their lives to overcome and at such a young age, if they use a bink then so what, let them have it. its harmless.

As for his teeth, My dentist actually told me to take it out of her mouth when she falls asleep, leave it nearby but take it out. He said in the grand scheme of things and for the amount of time it is acually in her mouth it is not doing any harm to her mouth.

I vote to let him keep it



New Member
I myself have been lucky so far with the 2 oldest givin up the paci before the age of 1. I myself am going to school for dental assisting and yes know they are bad. If they aren't ready though I would look into the ones that are orth recommended. Usually they say on the package and they would be much better. If it comes down to the fingers or the paci finger do way more damage. Good luck


New Member
I wanted to chime in on this subject, though I think you've gotten some fantastic answers. I sympathize with your situation.

When Seb was 3 he was very dependent upon his paci to fall asleep and to calm down. I was too. I couldn't fathom how either of us would cope without it. He was as high intensity as he is now, and the paci was the magic bullet that would calm him.

Under much pressure from his pediatrician I ditched the paci at 3 and a half. It was easier than I thought it would be. There were 3 rough days and then things evened out somewhat.

Seb constinues to be very oral though. He sucks on his clothing, on pencils, on just about anything... I loathe gum chewing but I have found that it has a good effect on him.

As Seb grew, he developed problems falling asleep at around age 6 when he became an independent reader. He started to sneak books until sometimes 2 in the morning. He couldn't settle in to sleep at all.

I decided to try self guided meditation though I was cynical about it. Much to my amazement it worked. It (along with Melatonin-- which you should only use with doctor's blessings and dosing) has meant the difference between sleep and no sleep.

I know your son is young but I am anticipating what might work to help him settle and relax into sleep. Check out this CD:

I actually put it on my ipod-- Seb listens to it in bed and it helps him to relax and fall asleep.

Thanks for the suggestion of the meditation cd. I don't know why I didn't think of it on my own, I use mine quite frequently and it really helps me. I ordered it along with the Indigo Dreams. Jayme is such a horrid sleeper, I am praying the cd's will help her.

Hugs and thanks,


New Member
Thanks for the suggestion, I'm hoping my library can get the CD for me. Great idea, I hope it works for my guy!

STILL haven't made up my mind about the paci......husband wants it gone but I waver..........