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My Puppy Ate My Retainer! Now What?

Retainers are an expensive but vitally important part of most orthodontic treatments. You’ve already invested time and money into getting your teeth where you want them, but without a retainer, they may not stay there. But let’s face it – at up to $400 a pop, retainers aren’t exactly something you want to keep replacing.

With some retainers lasting only about three years and others upwards of 10 years, they’re only a good investment if they last as long as intended. But don’t despair if something happens – follow these steps if you lose or break your retainer.

Broken Retainer

With normal use, your retainer shouldn’t break. After all, they’re made to withstand a lot of biting pressure. But sometimes things happen – you drop them just so, you get hit in the mouth with a baseball, or maybe your puppy finds it on a low shelf and uses it as a teething ring. Regardless of how your retainer breaks, it’s not the end of the world if it does.

The first thing you should do if your retainer is broken is to assess the damage. Are the wires just bent? Is it chipped? Is it broken in half or missing pieces? These factors will determine whether you need a new retainer or if it’s fixable. Here’s what you should NEVER do: attempt to fix it yourself.

Lost Retainer

Did you lose your retainer? Retracing your steps might help, and so might cleaning up any room it could be in. Retainers can sometimes be hard to see, so recruit some help around the house to see if fresh eyes might be able to find it. If you can’t find it, call Dr. Hill as soon as possible for a replacement – and remember, to prevent losing it again, always store it in the same place, preferably in the protective case it came with, or your mouth if you are supposed to be wearing it.

Now What?

So your retainer is MIA or too broken to fix. What do you do now? First, call Dr. Hill. You will most likely need to come in for a mouth scan and to have your device reordered.

If your retainer is just a little twisted, Dr. Hill may be able to fix it, but without seeing it he will not be able to determine if it’s fixable. Worst-case scenario, you get a brand-new retainer.

Again, do not attempt to glue, bend or fix your retainer yourself. We also encourage you to avoid using a retainer program online where you pay a flat fee for one retainer and then a cheaper replacement fee if you lose that retainer. These programs seem like a good deal, but without dentist or orthodontic supervision, you could be damaging your teeth or alignment without even realizing it – which could cost a lot more in the long run.

If you damage or lose your retainer, call Dr. Hill at 469-393-2463 as soon as possible. The longer you go without a retainer, the more movement your teeth may incur.

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