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

Retainers play a vital role in maintaining your beautiful smile after completing orthodontic treatment. At Montana Smile Orthodontics, we understand how important keeping your teeth in their new, straight position is. However, life happens, and sometimes retainers get lost or damaged. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic! We will guide you through the steps to take and provide helpful tips to prevent losing or damaging your retainers in the future.

Why are Retainers so Important?

Before we dive into what to do if you lose or damage your retainer, let’s review why they are so important. When you finish your orthodontic treatment, whether with braces or Invisalign, your teeth are in their ideal positions. However, the ligaments and bones surrounding your teeth need time to stabilize and adapt to these new positions. This is where retainers come in.

Retainers hold your teeth in place, preventing them from shifting back to their pre-treatment positions. Wearing your retainers as prescribed by your orthodontist is crucial for maintaining your hard-earned smile. Even small amounts of tooth movement can add up over time, undoing the time and effort you put into your orthodontic treatment.

Steps to Take If You Lose or Damage Your Retainer

Losing or damaging your retainer can be stressful, but don’t worry! At Montana Smile Orthodontics, we are here to help you navigate this situation and get your smile back on track. Follow these simple steps to address a lost or damaged retainer:

Use your backup retainer

We provide our patients with a set of retainers after completing treatment. This set includes both an active retainer to wear and a backup retainer. If you lose or damage your primary retainer, start wearing your backup retainer immediately. This will help prevent any unwanted tooth movement while you get a replacement.

Contact our office

Call Montana Smile Orthodontics as soon as possible to schedule an appointment for a new retainer. Explain the situation to our friendly team, and they will work with you to find a convenient time to come in. Remember, the sooner you replace your lost or damaged retainer, the less likely your teeth will shift out of alignment.

Avoid wearing a damaged retainer.

If your retainer is damaged, do not attempt to wear it until you have it inspected by Dr. Ryan Hecht. A damaged retainer may not fit properly, which can cause discomfort or even harm to your teeth. Bring the damaged retainer with you to your appointment so we can assess the issue and determine if a repair or replacement is necessary.

Monitor your bite

Pay attention to any changes in your bite or how your teeth feel while waiting for your replacement retainer appointment. If you notice significant changes, inform Dr. Ryan Hecht during your visit. This information can help us determine if you need any adjustments to your new retainer or if additional treatment is necessary.

Follow your orthodontist’s instructions.

When you receive your new retainer, follow your instructions carefully. They will advise you on how long and when to wear your retainer to maintain your smile effectively. Consistency is key, so make sure to incorporate wearing your retainer into your daily routine.

How Long Can You Go Without a Retainer?

Ideally, you should never go without wearing your retainer as prescribed. Even a couple of nights without wearing your retainer can allow your teeth to begin shifting. This is why replacing a lost or damaged retainer quickly is so important.

If you have gone more than a few nights without wearing your retainer, you may notice some signs that your teeth have moved:

  • Your retainer may not fit comfortably or completely over your teeth.
  • You may feel pressure or tightness when trying to wear your retainer.

If you experience these symptoms, contact Montana Smile Orthodontics right away to have a new retainer made. The longer you wait, the more your teeth may shift, potentially requiring additional orthodontic treatment to correct.

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

Tips to Prevent Losing or Damaging Your Retainer

While replacing a damaged or lost retainer is a straightforward process, it’s always better to prevent these situations from happening in the first place. By following these simple tips, you can keep your retainer safe and in good condition:

Handle your retainer with care.

Be gentle when placing and removing your retainer. Avoid using excessive force, as this can cause the retainer to break or become distorted. Always follow the instructions provided by your orthodontist for proper handling and care.

Store your retainer properly.

When you’re not wearing your retainer, store it in its designated case. This protects the retainer from damage and makes it less likely to be misplaced. Choose a brightly colored case that’s easy to spot, and keep it in a specific location when not used.

Keep your retainer away from pets.

Pets, especially dogs, are attracted to the scent of saliva on retainers. To prevent your furry friend from damaging or hiding your retainer, always store it in its case and out of reach of pets.

Avoid wrapping your retainer in napkins.

It might be tempting to wrap your retainer in a napkin for convenience during meals. However, this increases the risk of accidentally throwing away your retainer or mixing it with other items on the table. Instead, place your retainer in its case before enjoying your meal.

Don’t forget your retainer when traveling.

When packing for a trip, include your retainer case on your list of essential items. Forgetting your retainer at home can lead to extended periods without wear, increasing the likelihood of tooth movement.

What to Expect at Your Replacement Retainer Appointment

When you visit Montana Smile Orthodontics for a replacement retainer, the appointment typically takes 20-40 minutes. We will take new impressions or scans of your teeth to ensure a perfect fit for your replacement retainer. Our team will fabricate your new retainer in the office, allowing you to receive it on the same day in most cases.

If you are a current or former patient of Montana Smile Orthodontics, you may already have a backup retainer. However, if you need a new backup or are new to our practice, we will happily provide you with a set of retainers to help protect your smile for years.


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

Your Smile Is Our Priority

At Montana Smile Orthodontics in Billings, we are committed to helping you achieve and maintain a beautiful, healthy smile. If you have lost or damaged your retainer, please contact us. Dr. Ryan Hecht and our friendly team are here to guide you through replacing your retainer and answer any questions you may have.

Remember, a lost or damaged retainer is not the end of the world, but it is essential to address the issue promptly to prevent unwanted tooth movement. Contact us today to get this resolved.