Retainers are the final and possibly most important part of your orthodontic treatment. When the braces are removed, then impressions are taken to “custom” produce the retainers. These retainers are of a sturdy construction made with strong stainless steel wires and medical grade acrylic. They are designed and built with several “fail safes” to make them durable and effective for several years. It is critical that you report loss or breakage immediately. The doctor and the staff will give you very careful instructions on how to clean, care for and wear the retainers.
Your cooperation in all of these areas is critical, and when you do it your results will go on “forever”…it is that important. You may even hear it said, “Retainers are like fire insurance. You can quit wearing them when you are willing to cancel the fire insurance on your home. You never plan to have a fire and use it, but you wouldn’t be caught with out it.”
You begin by wearing them full time for 6 to 7 weeks. If you do a great job of that, you switch to wearing them only at nights. Gradually over the next few years, the wear time is reduced to 1 to 3 nights per week. Regular retainer check appointments are included with the treatment, and you can have them as often as you need and for as long as you need them.
The rapid palatal expander is a device that widens the upper jaw so that the teeth will all fit into place easier. It is cemented in the mouth so the patient will not have to worry about it staying in place. The patient expands it on a scheduled basis with a key that fits into the center of the RPE. When the upper jaw expands the necessary amount, new bone fills in between the halves, and the upper jaw remains permanently wider.
The RPE has to be custom fabricated to fit each patient. At the first visit after the separators appointment, four metal bands are fitted on the patient’s teeth and an impression is taken. The impression and the bands are sent to our lab for construction. When it is returned, the RPE is installed when the braces are put on.
Turning the RPE on schedule, following instructions about the key, keeping regularly scheduled appointments and brushing frequently and well will make the RPE portion of treatment go smoothly. Occasionally, there is minor discomfort in the nose or cheeks, but usually the teeth feel tight for only a short while after the expansion. Please call the office if you have any questions. The RPE portion of treatment is usually over within four to six months.
After the RPE has done its job, it is removed and replaced with regular braces.
There are a number of times when the staff will take impressions of your teeth in order to perform several elements of your treatment. The dental impressions need to be taken during a patient’s diagnostic records, to construct the palatal expanders, make retainers, fabricate TMJ splints and make bleaching trays.
The patient is fitted with the proper size tray to take the impression, and the tray is trimmed with soft wax to make it more comfortable and create a better impression. The impression is taken with alginate impression material to create a “negative” reproduction of the teeth. The impression is filled with dental stone to create an identical cast of the teeth. These casts are used to finish each of the steps listed above.
Sometimes the impression will “tickle” the back of your throat, but don’t worry. The super-star staff will help you control that with just the right instructions at just the right time. Be sure to follow all of their instructions, and you will have very little problem.
If you have been given a pain relief splint as a result of your diagnosis and treatment, the most important thing to remember is to wear it all the time-especially while you are eating. When you remove it for cleaning, try not to touch your teeth together at all.
Your teeth may be sore or the splint might feel tight at first. Your symptoms might even seem a bit worse for a little while. Some patients may even feel light-headed because of increased blood flow to the affected areas. If these symptoms seem excessive, please call us immediately.
If Ibuprofen is prescribed, be sure and use IBUPROFEN 200mg, U.S.P., 4 tablets every six hours for 4 days only. Please do not quit taking the dosage if you feel better: take it the prescribed amount of time! Please contact us if you have stomach distress or other symptoms.
If you have been prescribed MEDROL DOSEPACK, take the tablets according to the directions on the insert for the prescribed amount of time. Again, don’t quit if you feel better, and call us with any stomach distress or other symptoms.
After you have been comfortable, stable and symptom-free for a few weeks, we will be ready for the next stage of your treatment, braces.