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Does Your Retainer Fit?

March 10th, 2016

An orthodontic retainer is an appliance that Dr. Varghese delivers to our patients to keep their teeth as straight as possible, after braces are removed. We even see patients that have been out of orthodontic treatment for years that have lost their retainers, and now they need a replacement, so their teeth do not continue to shift more than they already have.

We deliver retainers to our patients' on the same day that patients’ braces are removed ☺ Dr. Varghese makes certain our patients' retainers fit comfortably and correctly before they leave our office. We expect retainers might feel snug at first, but they will surely loosen up the same way that a new pair of slip-on shoes loosen up with wear. If a retainer doesn’t fit right when first delivered, we will either remake it or change the kind of retainer completely.

When a patient reports that his or her retainer is no longer fitting, there are two things that could have happened. The first occurs when a patient does something to his or her retainer that distorts its shape. This can happen when a clear plastic retainer, known as an Essix retainer, is cleaned in water that is too hot. Washing or soaking retainers in water that is too warm can cause the heat sensitive plastic to “relax” and lose its shape allowing teeth to move. Retainers with acrylic and wires, also known as a Hawley retainer, can be deformed by being inserted or removed incorrectly (using the front wire as a handle for example) or by being stepped on or slept on.

The second and most common cause of retainers not fitting properly, or not at all, is that the retainer is simply not being worn as prescribed by Dr. Varghese. There are different regimens for maintaining straight teeth, so we can’t dictate here what is appropriate for you. After 1 full year of being out of braces, we suggest to our patients' to go from full time retainer wear, to part time retainer wear. We recommend going a couple nights without your retainer (after the first year),then, insert your retainer. Does your retainer feel tight? If so, you may want to wear it more frequently than not. We can say, that if your retainer fit when you left our office, but it no longer fits, chances are you have not worn it enough and your teeth have moved. If the change is recent and minimal (and your retainers still fit but are tight) you can try wearing them full time to see if the teeth will move back where they were before. If the teeth don’t realign within a couple of days however, you’ll need to see Dr. Varghese as soon as possible. If you stopped wearing your retainer more than a few days and your retainer won’t fit at all, you’ll also need to see Dr. Varghese. Waiting too long will only allow more movement and increase the likelihood that you’ll need braces once again to correct the shifting.

How NOT To Forget Your Retainer!

February 25th, 2016

The alarm sounds in the morning, you wake up and realize “I forgot to wear my retainer!”

If this only happened once, don’t panic. Missing one night with a retainer is unlikely to cause significant tooth movement. However, if it has happened often, give our office a call to make sure your teeth haven’t shifted position.

Here are some tips from Dr. Varghese to help you remember your retainer:

1. Write down the instructions we give you for wearing your retainer, whether you should wear it all day, at night, or just a few times per week. Writing things out helps set the schedule in your memory.

2. Clean your retainer when you take it out each and every time. If you don’t, you may not have time when you’re rushing to get to work or school to clean it properly, and may be tempted not to wear it.

3. Put a note on your mirror or in your purse or wallet reminding you to wear your retainer.

4. Set an alarm on your mobile phone to remind you when it’s time to put your retainer in. If you have email with a calendar, you can set up daily reminders, too.

5. Always put your retainer in its case when you take it out to eat, brush your teeth or sleep. You’ll reduce your risk for losing it or accidentally throwing it away.

6. If you don’t have to wear the retainer every day, you can use some recurring events to help you remember. With this system for example, watching your favorite weekly TV show, laundry day, or family pizza night can all serve as reminders that you should put in your retainer.

7. Don’t be shy about asking for help if you’re forgetful. Assure your spouse, parents, siblings, or roommates that you won’t consider it "nagging" if they remind you to wear your retainer.

8. Surf online for examples of how teeth can shift when retainers are not properly worn. Those stories can serve as timely warning not to let the same thing happen to you!

Remember, you can always call our North Aurora and Huntley offices if you feel your retainer is uncomfortable or painful. We’ll work with you to protect your smile!

Why it's so Important to Wear Your Retainers for Life!

December 1st, 2014

Nothing is more frustrating than noticing your teeth begin to shift as soon as you get your braces off. It is completely normal for your teeth to "settle" after your braces are removed, and our goal is to minimize these changes. As we get older, our bodies change, resulting in wrinkles in our skin, the thinning of our hair and yes!, the alignment and movement of our teeth. Retainers are the key to preventing tooth movement! The most important time to be faithful with your retainer wear is the first year after your braces are immediately removed. Absolutely everyone is different, as each individual's teeth move differently, so Dr. Varghese encourages our patients to monitor your own tooth movement to get a better idea of how often retainer wear is needed after the first critical year. Typically Dr. Varghese recommends retainer wear every night or every other night for lifetime after the first year. If you are not faithful with your retainer wear, Dr. V guarantees your teeth will move and most likely will need orthodontic treatment once again!
If you notice small, progressive changes in the days or weeks after your braces come off, your retainer may need to be adjusted. The sooner you call our office, the better chance we will have from orthodontic relapse. Otherwise, the longer the changes are left unaddressed, the more extensive the additional treatment will be.
Please do not hesitate to contact our office and our wonderful staff could answer any questions you may have.

Flossing Between Your Permanent Retainer

November 17th, 2014

All of us can agree that one of the most challenging tasks about having a permanent retainer is keeping it clean. Retainers that are bonded behind the teeth look nice and do their job perfectly without your help. Unfortunately, these retainers tend to accumulate plaque and stain, which require more time and effort when flossing.
Dr. Varghese uses bonded retainers because they have proven to be the most reliable when it comes to preventing tooth movement after braces are removed. There are 3 ways to floss your bonded retainer:
1.) "Floss threaders" are thin plastic needles that are used to help direct floss between the teeth and under your permanent wire. Once the floss is under the wire, it can me moved up and down the sides of your adjacent teeth, to remove plaque and stain build-up.
2.) "Superfloss" is a pre cut piece of floss on which one end has been made thicker by the manufacturer. This stiff end makes is much easier to thread your floss between your teeth making flossing a little bit faster than using floss threaders.
3.)"Airfloss or Waterpik" are great to use when you are on the go and do not have the time to spend on threading between each tooth. But don't forget to floss traditionally when you get home :)

Please contact our office if you need to know where to purchase these products or have any questions at 630.907.9680.

Happy Flossing :)

Varghese Orthodontics and Toys for Tots

December 4th, 2012

Varghese Orthodontics is teaming up with the US Marine Corps and is a collection site for Toys for Tots.

The mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. The objectives of Toys for Tots are to help less fortunate children throughout the United States experience the joy of Christmas; to play an active role in the development of one of our nation’s most valuable resources – our children; to unite all members of local communities in a common cause for three months each year during the annual toy collection and distribution campaign; and to contribute to better communities in the future.

We have a collection box in our front lobby and have started collecting toys for the less fortunate. Thank you to our wonderful patients that donated so far. Any patient that brings in a new unwrapped toy will have their name entered into a drawing for something special themselves as our way of saying "Thank you".

Let's try and make this a wonderful Christmas for as many children as we can!

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