My son has just completed orthodontic treatment and has a beautiful smile. His orthodontist has now suggested to wear retainers. What are they and why does he need to wear them?
After any orthodontic treatment, whether it be braces or clear aligners, your son will need to wear retainers to hold the teeth in their new position and keep them straight.
As there is a very high likelihood of teeth moving straight afterwards, particularly within the first few months. This is because the gums and bone around the teeth need to readjust and firm up.
Also, as we age, our face matures and our jaws continues to change shape, which may result in tooth movement or crowding of the lower front teeth. Some people even believe the wisdom teeth can cause teeth to be “pushed” forward. However, there isn’t enough clinical evidence/research to substantiate this theory, as tooth movement can still occur whether wisdom teeth have been removed or not.
Therefore initially, removable retainers need to be worn full-time for a certain period, after which the retainers can then be worn at night only. Over time your son can reduce wearing the retainers to a few nights a week, indefinitely. If, however your son has a fixed wire bonded to the back of his front teeth, then it is recommended to keep it in place indefinitely.
If your son follows the retention advice from your orthodontist/dentist, he will then give himself the best chance of maintaining his beautiful smile.
Dr Andrea Phatouros
BDSc (WA), FRACDS, MDSc (Ortho)
134 Tanti Avenue Mornington
I am pregnant. Can I donate blood?
Not right now, no. This is to protect your health and avoid causing stress to you and your baby’s circulation.
After you give birth, you’ll need to wait another nine months from delivery date to allow your body enough time to replenish its iron. There are also donation restrictions related to breastfeeding. But, even if you can’t donate blood temporarily, you may be able to donate breast milk instead.
If you’re a blood donor currently trying to become pregnant, we recommend you take a break from donation to help build and maintain healthy iron levels to support the increased iron requirements of a pregnancy.
When will my child start to walk?
Most children begin walking between 8 and 18 months of age. Some are physically and emotionally ready for that first step well before others, but don’t rush it — legs and feet develop best when babies learn to walk at their own pace. Walking aids are not necessary and can actually make it harder for a baby to learn to walk as well as being a danger of causing injury by tipping.
When your child first starts to walk, they may have a tendency to walk up on their toes, or with their toes pointing inwards or outwards. This is quite common.