How can I reduce complications after my child gets a wire dental retainer?

A fixed wire retainer does not generally cause any complications, however, there are a few things to be aware of before getting a retainer. If your child has pain from a sharp wire or piece of glue, you should call your orthodontist to get it repositioned and reglued. In the meantime, your child can put a piece of dental wax over the wire that is causing discomfort. If you don’t have any dental wax left over from the time your child had braces, you can purchase it at a drugstore. You can also use tweezers to bend the wire back into place.

If your child has a history of gum loss due to gingivitis, or gum disease, make sure your child cleans his teeth thoroughly, as minor problems have occurred in some patients using a wire retainer. It’s also harder to clean the plaque that forms behind the teeth and next to the wire and cement, so make sure your child brushes his teeth carefully and flosses between the wire and the gums. You can buy a special loop to thread the dental floss through the space under the wire, available at drugstores. (Your orthodontist or dentist can probably give you a sample as well.)

The cement holding the wire can sometimes come off and the wire is no longer attached to the tooth. This can happen naturally, or from eating foods that are hard or sticky, like crusty bread or gummy bears. Be sure your child takes special care when eating hard or sticky foods to prevent damage to the retainer.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.