What Should I Do If I Lose Or Damage My Retainers?

It’s widely understood that maintaining your retainer is important. However, nobody is perfect, and it’s wise to be ready for occasional slip-ups. Today, Mack Orthodontics will let you know: What should I do if I lose or damage my retainers?

What Are Retainers?

Retainers are dental tools utilized to preserve the alignment of teeth following orthodontic procedures. These custom-crafted devices, usually composed of plastic or metal, are designed to snugly cover the teeth. They’re commonly provided post-braces removal to prevent the regression of teeth to their previous positions.

When Things Go Wrong

There are quite a few ways retainers can be damaged, either in a single incident or over time. 

  1. Dropping them: Accidentally dropping retainers, especially on solid surfaces like concrete or tile, can result in breakage or deformation.
  2. Exposure to heat: It’s important to avoid exposing retainers to high temperatures, such as leaving them in a hot car or near heat sources, as this can distort their shape.
  3. Pets: Pets may mistake retainers for chew toys, leading to potential damage or destruction. Ensure they are kept out of reach.
  4. Chewing on them: Some individuals develop a habit of chewing on their retainers, which can gradually weaken or harm the material over time.
  5. Improper cleaning: Improper cleaning techniques, such as using abrasive cleaners or brushing too vigorously, can cause scratches or damage to the surface of retainers.
  6. Chemical exposure: Certain substances, like specific cleaning agents or mouthwashes containing alcohol, can potentially harm the material of the retainer if they come into regular contact with it.
What Should I Do If I Lose Or Damage My Retainers?

Taking Action

If you encounter these issues with your retainers, what actions should you take? Below are some of the methods Dr. Mack would suggest:

  1. Contact Your Orthodontist: This should be your primary and most crucial step. Reach out to one of our offices as soon as possible to inform us of your situation—we can offer guidance tailored to your circumstances and provide temporary solutions until your appointment.
  2. Assess the Damage: If your retainer is damaged but still intact, assess the extent of the harm. Minor damage may not require immediate replacement, but our Mack Orthodontics team should still examine it to ensure its efficacy.
  3. Avoid Delay: It’s essential not to postpone addressing this issue. Delay can lead to significant regression in your treatment progress, potentially necessitating extensive corrective measures.
  4. Consider Temporary Measures: While awaiting a replacement retainer or repair, you may need interim measures to prevent teeth shifting. If you have a spare retainer, we may advise using it. Alternatively, orthodontic wax can cover any sharp edges on a damaged retainer.
  5. Follow Instructions: Avoid improvising! Dr. Mack or one of our team members will provide precise instructions. It’s vital to follow this guidance diligently. For instance, if we recommend an office visit for further assessment, ensure you attend the appointment.
  6. Store Your Retainer Properly: When not in use, keep your retainer in its case to shield it from damage. Retainers are more susceptible to mishaps when left unprotected.
  7. Avoid DIY Repairs: Refrain from attempting to fix your retainer independently, as improper repairs can compromise its functionality and cause further harm. Always seek professional help for repairs or replacements.
  8. Communicate Any Concerns: If you experience discomfort or observe changes in your retainer’s fit or function, don’t hesitate to contact Mack Orthodontics.

FAQs About Retainers

Here are some additional questions that you might have about your retainer.

Q: What should I do if my retainer feels tight or uncomfortable?

A: Sensations of tightness or discomfort may suggest slight teeth shifting or retainer distortion. If consistent wear hasn’t been maintained, this outcome is relatively common.

Q: What is the best way to store my retainer?

A: Utilizing a hard-shelled plastic case is the most effective approach to shield it from harm and contamination. Avoiding exposure to air or sunlight is crucial, as it can lead to degradation or warping.

Q: Should I wear a damaged retainer?
A: It’s generally not recommended. An assessment of the damage’s extent is necessary to determine whether repairs or replacements are warranted.

What Should I Do If I Lose Or Damage My Retainers?

Keeping Things Straight

Keep in mind the primary course of action if your retainer breaks or goes missing is to reach out to our dedicated team at Mack Orthodontics for assistance. 

With our exceptional offices located in Burlington and Hillsborough, we can’t wait to assist you.