Thursday, June 17, 2010

Retainer 101

Frost had his retainer fitted at the orthodontist today. The retainer is supposed to keep his teeth in the nice new spacious place created by the braces. It is to remain in his mouth almost all the time until his adult teeth come in.

After the fitting, Frost was given instructions on care and use of his retainer. Apparently retainers have a perilous life. Not surprisingly, since they are in the care of elementary aged children and must be removed and remembered after eating. They are at most risk out of the mouth.

According to the orthodontic nurse, Frost should always carry his retainer box (of which he was given two, one in a stylish sparkly black and one in glow-in-the-dark greenish white). He should remove the retainer and insert it in the box to eat. He should remove it to clean his teeth, clean it, and then reinsert for bed. According to a small girl in the dentist's office, he should also remove it to swim since "it could just dissolve in water." Her mother and I were skeptical of her reasoning, but apparently the orthodontist told her to take it out for swimming - perhaps because it could fall out in the water and be lost.

When a retainer is out of the mouth it should be in the box only. If not, bad and damaging things could happen. According to the dental nurse, here are the top ranked excuses for lost/damaged retainers:

"I didn't have the box so:

1) I wrapped it in a paper napkin by my plate when I was eating then my Mom threw it away!

2) I put it on the table and the dog chewed it. [Apparently dogs love the smell of retainers and routinely chew on them and "eat them up". According to the dental nurse at Dr Sata's "When I worked at an orthodontist's office there was a night guard that is like a retainer and it was jut a dog toy if you didn't them in the box. And they were expensive!

3) I put it in my pocket and then I forgot and sat on it.

4) I put it somewhere else and I can't find it."

Frost is being remarkably conscientious about it. He worries about the location of his retainer box and whether it might go right down his throat (I said "no"). He worried about wearing it at school and taking it out for lunch. He even begged to be allowed to stay home because "It will take time to get used to it!"

Was it hard on the first day?

"No, it was easy. At lunch I just popped it in the box. Oh, but the lunch lady came around and gave us lollypops so I had to take it out and put it back two times. Do you want to see how I do it?"

I declined. My only concern is the number of times he sticks his (dirty, unwashed, school-germy) fingers in his mouth to move and remove it. Does he have to carry hand sanitizer now?

1 comment:

Heather T said...

Matthew has top and bottom retainers which got "lost" in our house. We looked for two weeks, then finally had to fork over $175 EACH for new ones. We found them 2 months later in a container full of Meredith's Polly Pocket clothes. I'd like to charge her the $350! So beware of little ones who think it's a funny trick to play on their siblings to hide them!!