A lost retainer can play a big role in whether your teeth remain straight or not. You probably wore your braces for at least a year and perhaps even longer. While the braces did the heavy lifting to get your teeth in their perfect positions, your retainer should be worn daily to keep your teeth in their intended positions. Retainers are responsible for keeping your teeth straight after your braces have been removed and if you go too long without yours, you might eventually notice that your teeth have shifted. So what are you to do if you find yourself without a trace of your retainer?

Ways To Avoid Lost Retainers

The best way to avoid losing your retainer is to keep the retainer and its case in the same spot every day and overnight so you never have to question where you stuck it. Most people choose to wear their retainer overnight, so keeping it by your toothbrush and toothpaste is an easy solution. 


Of course if you are wearing your retainer it won’t get lost as easily. When your braces fist come off you should be wearing your retainer just about 24/7 to help your teeth adjust to their new positioning. The only time you should remove your retainer immediately after your braces are removed is for eating, brushing or flossing your teeth or cleaning your retainer. 


If you eat out at a restaurant or even at home, avoid putting your retainer in a napkin, on a tray or in any spot that you may pick up to toss in the trash without thinking. Out of sight is out of mind and you sure don’t want to have to dig through the trash and old food remnants to recover a lost retainer!

Lost Or Broken Retainer? What To Do Next

Prevent Broken Or Damaged Retainers

The best way to prevent having to deal with broken or damaged retainers is to make sure you put them in your mouth correctly and gently and remove them with care. To do this, make sure you  use one finger on each side of your retainer to guarantee that it is going into and coming out of your mouth at the same pace on each side. A retainer that is shoved in is more likely to be damaged prematurely. 


It is also important to use caution when cleaning your retainers. If you are brushing your retainer forcefully on one side while holding the other you may be exerting too much force on the retainer. Instead, hold your retainer flat in one palm while brushing it to guarantee that pressure is spread evenly and brush gently around the wires. 


Here are some tips for cleaning your retainer: 


  • Rinse retainer with warm water
  • Brush retainer with a soft bristled brush and non-whitening toothpaste
  • Scrub retainer with baking soda and water mixture to remove buildup
  • Occasionally use non-alcoholic mouthwash to clean the retainer and then rinse with cold water


To safely store your retainer, always put them back in the storage case you received from your orthodontist. A retainer that is safely stowed will be safe from accidents, pets and atmospheric changes. 

What To Do If Your Retainer Is Broken Or Lost

Since you just went through all the time, effort, and money to have your teeth straightened, the last thing you want is for them to shift! If you find yourself with a broken or missing retainer your best option is to contact your orthodontist, especially if you are sure that the missing retainer will not show up again. 


Your orthodontist may have a 3D image of your teeth in their files and could create a retainer based on that or they may have to take a new mold of your teeth to have a new retainer made. Either way, it is better not to let much time pass without wearing your retainer to guarantee your teeth stay in their new position. 

Contact Your Fort Worth Orthodontist Quick

If your retainer is broken, missing, or you just want to make sure it is fitting properly, your best option is to contact an experienced orthodontist office. At Ahava Orthodontics, our goal is to provide you excellent orthodontic care in a friendly, professional atmosphere. If you need help with a broken or lost retainer, or just want peace of mind that your retainer is fitting correctly, contact us today to set up an appointment!