How to Floss a Lower Fxed Retainer

The method is introduced by Dr. Tim Shaughnessy, orthodontist, in John Creek, Georgia.

A stiffer wire makes it unnecessary to bond each tooth (Fig.1,2 *, as compared to a traditional retainer in Fig.'2 with every lower anterior tooth being bonded (*)).  Bonding can be done before brackets are removed (Fig.2). To floss the new type of fixed retainer, slide a piece of floss between the teeth (Fig.3), turn the floss around the tooth without being bonded (Fig.4), and slide the other end of the floss into the next space (Fig.5,6).  Last slide the floss down past the wire and cross the ends of the floss (Fig.7) and move back and forth (Fig.'7 arrows).

Question for Dr. Shaughnessy: I really love your way of bonding of lingual retainer and flossing. May I post these photos for patients' education? Will those teeth without bonding turn in a while?

Answer: Anything of mine is yours Xin. You are welcome to use any of my photos. I am always afraid lower incisors will try to migrate with time. I can even show you how I place the retainers. I have a trick for that also. I know you are not surprised!

Question: For severe crowding case, do we have to bond every single incisor to prevent relapse? Can you show me the trick you mentioned? I do not mind traveling to your office to learn. Implantologists recommend the same way of flossing as you do for retainer.

Answer: Yes I lean toward smaller gauge wire and bond every tooth if severely crowded, periodontally compromised (like a splint), or initial spacing.

Question: Wonderful thinking. By the way, I have recommended one of my dental assistants to your office for consultation. She has artificial heart valves and takes Coumadin (blood thinner). Probably due to chronic oozing (subclinical hemorrhage), her gingiva is not so healthy, although her oral hygiene is good. Anterior teeth are mildly protrusive. She wonders whether she can receive ortho treatment for the anteriors. If possible, enroll her in your clinical study.  When you choose a smaller wire, is it also twisted?

Answer: Yes I use a .0215 5-stranded wire with bonding on every tooth, .032 size wire with limited # of teeth bonded.  Even if your asst not eligible for study, I will help her out.

Xin Wei, DDS, PhD, MS 1st edition 03/02/2013, last revision 03/03/2013