What Are The Steps To Be Taken After Losing Retainers?

Steps To Be Taken If You Lose Retainers | Tolleson Orthodontics

Losing retainers is not an ideal situation, but it does happen. In such cases, one must take the proper steps to ensure future retainers remain secure and that the process of replacing retainers is as stress-free as possible. This article will provide a detailed overview of what should be done after losing retainers.

Retainers are typically used to keep your teeth in their original alignment and can be costly to replace if lost or broken. While accidents do happen, there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of ever needing to replace retainers. The first step is understanding what retainers are and how they work so that you can better care for them and ensure they last longer.

What are retainers?

Retainers are small, custom-made pieces of orthodontic hardware that keep your teeth in the desired position. These retainers are made from a mold of your mouth and can be adjusted to fit snugly. They come in two different types: metal retainers and clear retainers. Metal retainers generally last longer than clear retainers, but they can be heavy and uncomfortable to wear. On the other hand, clear retainers are more comfortable but require frequent replacement as they do not last as long as metal retainers.

Types of Retainers

Metal retainers consist of brackets and wires connected with tiny hooks or clasps that help keep retainers in place. Metal retainers are usually made from stainless steel or titanium and are designed to last an average of two years if cared for properly. Clear retainers, also known as Essix retainers, look like thin pieces of plastic and fit snugly over the teeth. They are transparent and more comfortable than metal retainers but need to be replaced more frequently (every six months to one year) due to their fragile nature.

How Retainers Work?

Retainers apply pressure on your teeth to keep them in the desired position. This is done through wires and springs, which help move the teeth back into their original alignment. Retainers should be worn for at least a few hours each day, depending on the specific instructions from your orthodontist.

How to Care for Retainers

Caring for retainers is essential to ensure they last as long as possible. Retainers should be brushed and flossed regularly to remove plaque or bacteria buildup. Additionally, retainers should never be exposed to hot water, damaging them and rendering them unusable. Lastly, retainers should always be stored in their protective case when not being used.

What to Do if You Lose Your Retainers?

If you happen to lose your retainers, there are few steps that you should take to ensure the process of replacing retainers is as stress-free as possible.

  • Contact Your Orthodontist Immediately

The first thing you can do if you lose your retainers is contact your orthodontist immediately. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action and provide a replacement retainer as soon as possible. Your orthodontist may also recommend using a temporary retainer while waiting for the new one to keep your teeth in their desired position.

  • Order Replacement Retainers

Once you have spoken with your orthodontist, they will likely provide instructions on how to order replacement retainers. The process usually involves taking an impression of your teeth, which can then be sent to a lab to manufacture the retainers. Depending on the orthodontist, this process may take anywhere from two to four weeks.

Wear Retainers Properly

Once you have received your retainers, you must wear them correctly and follow any instructions from your orthodontist. This includes wearing retainers for at least a few hours daily and cleaning them regularly to ensure they last as long as possible. Additionally, when not used, retainers should always be stored in their protective case and never exposed to hot water or extreme temperatures.

Losing retainers can be a stressful experience; however, by following these simple steps and taking the necessary precautions, you can ensure that your retainers last as long as possible. By contacting your orthodontist immediately and ordering replacement retainers, you can keep your teeth in their desired alignment with minimal disruption. Additionally, it is essential to take good care of retainers by cleaning them regularly and storing them properly to ensure they last for an extended period.


Q: What should I do if I lose my retainers?

A: If you lose your retainers, the first thing you should do is contact your orthodontist as soon as possible. They will advise you on the best action and provide a replacement retainer. Additionally, you should order replacement retainers and ensure you wear them correctly and clean them regularly to keep your retainers in good condition for as long as possible.

Q: How often should I replace my retainers?

A: The frequency at which retainers need to be replaced will depend on the type of retainer used. Metal retainers typically last between one and three years before needing to be replaced, while plastic or transparent retainers usually need to be replaced every six months to one year due to their more fragile nature.

Q: Is it normal for retainers to feel uncomfortable when first worn?

A: It is normal to feel discomfort when wearing retainers for the first time. This is because retainers apply pressure on your teeth to keep them in their desired alignment. However, this discomfort should subside after a few weeks of wearing retainers as your mouth adjusts to the retainer.