Retainer, Orthodontics Dental concept background, dentist, dental complication

What Should I Do If I Lost My Retainer?


You and your friends stop to eat at a restaurant. Before you start eating you pop out your retainer and wrap it in a napkin. Fast forward to later on when you go to put the retainer back in and can’t find it.

It seems you got lost in conversation with one of your friends and unconsciously threw your napkin wrapped retainer in the garbage with the rest of your trash. Panic sets in because you don’t want to lose any of the progress your teeth have made over the past few months.

Well, wipe that worry sweat off your brow because you can get a replacement. Keep reading for a step by step guide on what you should do when you have a lost retainer on your hands.

1. Keeping Your Retainers Safe 

The first step of replacing a lost retainer is to not allow it to get lost in the first place. You don’t want to ever place it in a napkin or on your plate when you’re at a restaurant because then you run the risk of tossing it.

A simple solution is to always bring a carrying case with you no matter where you go. Also, consider getting a second pair of retainers regardless. That way if you lose one set you’ll have a backup solution.

2. Contact Your Orthodontist Right Away

If you weren’t prepared for the worst and lost your retainer you’ll need to get in touch with your orthodontist straight away to discuss how to get a new retainer. The reason why you want to do this the same day you lose them if possible is that it’s a process. They’ll most likely want you to come in so they can take a mold of your teeth.

From there you’ll have to wait for your new ones to come in. While you’re at the office they can also check to see if your fixed retainers are working fine.

3. Replacing Them 

Everyone’s teeth are different. It may take a while for your teeth to start shifting out of place once you lose your retainer or it may start happening almost right away.

That’s why your orthodontist will have to take new molds of your teeth regardless. You’ll also have to pay a little more to have your replacements ordered. Be prepared to pay anywhere between 200 and 500 for a new set.

4. What to do in the Mean Time 

So you got the molds done but what do you do in the meantime? You don’t want your teeth to shift back out of place while you wait.

Ask Your Orthodontist for Advice

There may be nothing that you can do to keep your teeth from shifting while you wait. Still, it never hurts to ask your orthodontist for advice. They may be able to give you a list of do’s and dont’s that will keep the shifting process from happening as fast.

Ask if There is a Temporary Solution 

On top of asking your orthodontist for advice, you can also ask them about temporary solutions. They could give you a simple clear aligner that will keep your teeth in place while you wait on your retainers to come in.

Avoid Stress on the Mouth 

Putting extra stress on your mouth can cause your teeth to fall out of alignment faster. That’s why you need to avoid grinding your teeth together. This can be easier said than done if you have the habit of grinding your teeth in your sleep.

If you talk to your orthodontist they may be able to give you a mouth guard that will stop you from putting stress on your teeth while you sleep.

5. Will Fixed Retainers Keep My Teeth Straight?

On top of having removable retainers, you’ll also have fixed retainer added. It’s a wire that goes behind your front teeth that isn’t removable.

The problem is that you can’t rely on it alone when you’ve lost your retainer. It’s only added to your front 6 teeth. Its job is to create stability when your teeth are being aligned. It’s not meant to be a teeth straightening solution.

You have to use your removable retainer with them to see results. It’s thin wire so it’s easy for your teeth to defy it and shift back out of place. This may give you a few extra problems.

It could become detached or broken which means your orthodontist will have to fix that on top of ordering a new set of removable retainers.

6. In the Event of Orthodnoic Relapse

So you set up an appointment with your orthodontist to get a new retainer. A week later your old retainer shows back up. You cancel your appointment and put the old retainer back in but when you do, things are a little tight.

Don’t worry, after your mouth gets readjusted to wearing the retainer this uncomfortable tightness will go away. If it doesn’t then you should get back on the phone with your orthodontist because it’s possible you’ll need a new one.

If your teeth have shifted too much it’s possible that you may even need to wear braces again. Granted, you shouldn’t have to wear them as long this time.

Help! What to Do in the Case of a Lost Retainer

Losing your retainer can be a nerve-wracking experience. You don’t want to lose all the progress your teeth have made. The good news is that you’re not the first person to lose one and you won’t be the last. Just follow these tips on what to do in the case of a lost retainer and you’ll have a new one in no time.

Did this article help calm your lost retainer panic? Check out our Health archives for more oral health tips!


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