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

Keeping up with and protecting your retainer may seem like common sense—but accidents happen to everyone. Today, Smiles from the Hart will give you a heads up in case you’re presented with this question: What should I do if I lose or damage my retainers?

What Are Retainers?

Retainers are dental appliances used to maintain teeth alignment after orthodontic treatment. Crafted individually, they are typically made of plastic or metal, fitting snugly over the teeth. Often prescribed after braces removal, they prevent teeth from reverting to their former positions.


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

What Could Go Wrong?

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

  • Dropping them: Dropping retainers, especially on hard surfaces like concrete or tile, can lead to breakage or deformation.
  • Pets: Pets may mistake retainers for chew toys, potentially causing damage or destruction. Ensure they are kept out of reach.
  • Chewing on them: Some individuals develop a habit of chewing on their retainers, gradually weakening or damaging the material over time.
  • Improper cleaning: Using abrasive cleaners or brushing too vigorously can cause scratches or damage to the surface of retainers.
  • Exposure to heat: Avoid exposing retainers to high temperatures, such as leaving them in a hot car or near heat sources, as this can alter their shape.
  • 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.

How to Help

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

  • Contact Your Orthodontist: This should be your initial and most crucial action. Contact one of our offices promptly to inform us of your situation—we can provide tailored guidance and temporary solutions until your appointment.
  • Assess the Damage: If your retainer is damaged but intact, assess the extent of the harm. Minor damage may not necessitate immediate replacement, but our Smiles from the Hart team should still inspect it to ensure effectiveness.
  • Avoid Delay: It’s vital not to postpone addressing this issue. Delays can result in significant setbacks in your treatment progress, potentially requiring extensive corrective measures.
  • Store Your Retainer Properly: When not in use, store your retainer in its case to protect it from damage. Retainers are more vulnerable to accidents when left unprotected.
  • Consider Temporary Measures: While awaiting a replacement retainer or repair, interim measures may be necessary to prevent teeth shifting. If you have a spare retainer, we may recommend using it. Alternatively, orthodontic wax can cover any sharp edges on a damaged retainer.
  • Follow Instructions: Try to avoid improvising! Dr. Hart or one of our team members will provide precise instructions. It’s crucial to diligently follow this guidance. For instance, if an office visit is recommended for further assessment, ensure you attend the appointment as scheduled.
  • Avoid DIY Repairs: Resist the urge to fix your retainer independently, as improper repairs can compromise its functionality and cause further damage. Always seek professional assistance for repairs or replacements.
  • Communicate Any Concerns: If you experience discomfort or notice changes in your retainer’s fit or function, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Smiles from the Hart.


FAQs About Your Retainer

These are some other questions that you might have regarding your retainer:

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

A: Sensations of tightness or discomfort may indicate minor teeth shifting or retainer distortion. This outcome is relatively common if consistent wear hasn’t been maintained.

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

A: The optimal method is to use a hard-shelled plastic case to shield it from damage and contamination. It’s crucial to avoid exposure to air or sunlight, as this can cause degradation or warping.

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

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

A Straight Path Forward

Remember, the first step to take if your retainer breaks or becomes misplaced is to contact our dedicated team and Dr. Hart for help. With our outstanding offices located in Murfreesboro or Gallatin, you’ll find our service is convenient and consistent.