Some orthodontic retainers are fixed, eliminating the issues that come with misplacing them.
However, some retainers are removable, and with removable retainers comes responsibility. Your removable retainer should be placed in one of two locations: in its box or in your mouth. Anywhere else can leave your retainer vulnerable to getting lost, broken, or worse—eaten.
Dogs and retainers
It happens, and a lot more often than you may think. We don’t know exactly why it happens, but dogs seem to enjoy using retainers as chew toys and leaving yours lying around could result in finding a mangled mess of your retainer on the floor. This happens with surprising frequency. It is believed that dogs are attracted by the smell of the materials from which retainers are made, as well as saliva. With their powerful jaws, a dog can render your retainer useless in no time.
I threw out my retainer
Similar to retainer style ‘chew toys’ for pets, dustbin diving for retainers is also a common occurrence. Throwing away your retainer by accident usually happens when you place your retainer in a napkin. In an absent-minded moment, you may toss this napkin in the trash. Perhaps you find yourself in a restaurant placing your retainer in a napkin prior to eating, only to have the waiting staff clear said napkin with your empty plate.
Along with pets and napkins, another issue in the lost and broken retainer department comes about when retainers are placed in pockets or bags (without their box). This can result in your retainer being sat on or broken in some other way.
Keeping your retainer safe
Your orthodontist will provide you with a box for your retainer and it is imperative that you use it to keep your retainer safe. If your retainer is not in your mouth it should be in your box. Keeping your retainer in its box will help to keep it protected, safe and clean.
What to do if you lose or break your retainer
If you have found yourself in the unfortunate event of having your retainer stood on, chewed by the dog or thrown in the trash, etc., it is imperative that you contact your orthodontist as soon as you can. If you leave contacting your orthodontist for an extended period of time, your teeth may move. This will result in corrective action needing to take place before a new retainer could be fitted.
The sooner you contact your orthodontist to fit a new retainer, the less likely your teeth are to move.
Losing and replacing broken and missing retainers can be an expensive game, so the best thing to do is to take responsibility and take good care of your retainer. The easiest way to do this is by simply placing your retainer in one of two places: in your mouth or in its box!