A Letter To My Orthodontist

Submitted by: Julia Sykes 17–01

A Note from Julia:

When I returned from our first Hurricane consolidation, I realized there was something nasty on my retainers. I freaked out and decided to email my orthodontist asking for advice. Here’s what I sent:

Hello, Nakfoor Orthodontics!

I hope this email finds your team well. I am writing with a question about advice to thoroughly clean my retainers!! I have a plastic retainer for my bottom teeth and a metal one for my top teeth. Normally I clean my retainers with a toothbrush, although I have found myself in some unusual circumstances…

I am a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in the Dominican Republic. Last week all volunteers in country were consolidated to the capital to take shelter from Hurricane Irma that was barreling straight toward this beautiful island. I packed in a rush and left my retainers in their case on my sink by accident. When I returned yesterday I opened my retainer case to find a couple of baby cockroaches in it and what appeared to be roach droppings on my retainers! I’m not sure if there is such thing as roach droppings, but regardless, there is stuff on my retainers that should not be there.

So now I’m kind of panicking because I can’t believe I’ve gone almost a week without wearing my beautiful retainers (I am pretty serious about wearing them every night!) and I need to clean them. If I were home I would just run on down to Walgreens and buy some denture cleaning stuff to give those babies a good soak, but since I am kind of in the middle of nowhere with limited access to resources, I’m wondering what else I can do so I can pop those bad boys back in and prevent my awful gap teeth from creeping back. What better person to ask than my orthodontist himself!?!

For reference, I got my braces off in March of 2011. My last checkup with Dr. Nakfoor was probably in the summer of 2012, right before I left for college at Penn State when he told me I only had to wear my retainer every other night.

Another note, I still receive birthday cards from you guys every year and it truly warms my heart that you remember me. Thank you.

Anyway, SOS. Please help a previous patient out with some hard-core cleaning tips, because I will not put those retainers in my mouth until I am sure they are squeaky clean.

Sending love and smiles (ha!),

Julia Sykes

Primary Literacy Promoter

Peace Corps Dominican Republic


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