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If there is an argument for pacifiers (also termed "soothers"), the prevention of thumbsucking is probably the best argument for early judicious use of an orthodontic pacifier (although I am unaware of any scientific study proving this). "Better a binky than a pinky." A pacifier can be discarded after the first few months (I recommend by no later than about 5-6 months), a finger can't. On the other hand, in 20 plus years of practice, I cannot remember sending even one child to the orthodontist for the ultimate thumbsucking cure (the little cage apparatus). So thumb sucking itself is probably an overrated problem as well.
Some people get nervous about using a pacifier too long - but remember, it is the parents who allow this. I also personally believe the talk about nipple confusion with breastfeeders is way overblown - some first time mothers are literally afraid to let their baby have a pacifier for fear of ruining nursing. That's rather extreme. A common sense approach - try it with your baby and stop if you think it causes problems - seems much more reasonable.
Pacifier use should be limited to initial falling asleep only. Otherwise, there is a now fairly well established association of increased ear infections with continuous pacifier use1. This use of pacifiers - just to aid falling asleep - may be OK for the first few months, but even this use should be avoided after 5-6 months because of the risk of reinforcing behavioral night waking and crying around 7-8 months.
Additional personal opinions on pacifiers (caveat lector):