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What To Do If Your Retainer Breaks

by Annabel Caldwell
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What To Do If Your Retainer Breaks

What To Do If Your Retainer Breaks

As you should wear your retainer every day, if you break or lose a retainer you will need to make sure you contact your Orthodontist ASAP to have it repaired or a new appliance made.

Getting braces is an exciting time in anyone’s life and getting them removed can be just as painful! When we get the all-clear from our orthodontists we celebrate with smiles and cheers but sometimes there are mishaps that happen which can cause us some problems down the line. One of these little accidents happens when we forget to put our retainers on each night after eating meals and going to bed. We may not notice this until morning when we wake up and find out our tooth has shifted overnight. This can lead to pain and even more serious complications later on like losing one’s teeth altogether due to a slipped disc or other physical issues.
The best thing to do for any type of retainer related problem is to call your Orthodontist immediately so they can help you determine what course of action needs to be taken. They will most likely want to see you right away if you lost or broke your retainer because they don’t want you putting yourself at risk of further dental problems.
Here are some things you should know if you ever experience a broken retainer:
1) Make Sure It Is Broken – A common mistake people make when wearing their retainer is thinking something is wrong only if they feel pain while chewing food. The first thing you should check is that the retainer actually IS broken. You should try to move your tooth around to see if it is loose or dislocated without moving anything else. If you cannot move it easily then chances are it may be broken and needs to be replaced.
2) Report Any Injuries Right Away – Immediately report any injuries involving your retainer to your Orthodontist. Most Orthodontists have emergency numbers posted somewhere in case of such an accident.
3) Take Pictures – As soon as possible take pictures of any marks where you think the retainer was damaged. This will allow your Orthodontist to better assess whether or not the damage could have been caused by your retainer breaking.
4) Find An Exchange Center – After contacting your Orthodontist, ask about exchange centers nearby. These are usually places that accept old appliances for free and can often replace yours quickly. Just remember that you will still need to pay for shipping fees.
5) Get Your New Appliance Made – Now that you’ve found an exchange center close to home or work ask about how long it takes to get your new retainer made. You’ll probably need to wait a few days before having your replacement delivered since they will need to order it especially if you’re traveling far distances.
6) Call For Refunds & Credits – Once you receive your new retainer either call the company directly or contact your Orthodontist and let them know about the issue. Be sure to mention how important it is that you receive a full refund since the cost of treatment has already gone up once and you shouldn’t have to go through all that again. Also ask if you qualify for any kind of credit towards your next appointment. Many times companies offer credits or discounts for returning customers who had to cancel appointments.
7) Donate Or Recycle Old Appliances – If you no longer use an appliance you can donate it to someone in need. Many local hospitals, schools and orphanages would love to receive used appliances. Check with your Orthodontist to find out where you might be able to donate your last retainer to.
8) Prevent Future Problems – If you haven’t worn your retainer regularly over the past year or two consider getting a new set made. This way you won’t have to worry about your current retainer snapping off and causing more problems down the road.
9) Ask Questions About Treatment Costs – Before signing a contract ask questions about the price of treatment, including any hidden fees or costs. Some insurance policies charge extra money for retainers and dental devices.
10) Ask About Payment Plans – Some patients prefer to pay for treatment over several payments rather than paying upfront. Ask if payment plans are available.
11) Keep Records Of All Appointments – Always keep track of your appointments so you can refer back to previous visits. Write down everything said during your visit including dates, procedures performed and the final bill amount paid.
12) Contact Your Insurance Company – Let your insurance provider know about any incidents regarding your retainer. Sometimes they will cover part or all of the expenses involved depending on your policy.
13) Consider Using Tooth Floss With Metal Filings – If you have metal retainers or bands flossing daily is recommended to prevent bacteria build up between your gum tissue and metal.
14) Avoid Chewing Hard Candy – Although hard candy may seem harmless it can actually irritate gums and increase acid production which can hurt enamel and bone structure.
15) Use Mouthwash Often And Brush Regularly – Rinse your mouth thoroughly with warm water after lunch and dinner to avoid bad breath and plaque build-up which can stain teeth and affect appearance. Brushing also helps remove particles stuck between your teeth making brushing twice a day a must.
16) Visit Your Dentist Regularly – Visiting your dentist on a regular basis is essential for proper oral health care. Having a clean bill of health ensures your teeth stay healthy and strong. Keeping good hygiene habits also prevents bad breath and cavities.
17) Eat Healthy Foods – Eating foods high in fiber and calcium helps strengthen bones and teeth. Salty snacks tend to weaken teeth so stick to fresh fruits, veggies, nuts and whole grain breads.
18) Wear Your Retainers Correctly Each Day – Wearing your retainer correctly is key to keeping it on properly. There are many different ways to wear your retainer for maximum comfort. Some people like to wear their retainer on the lower front side underneath clothing, others choose to wear it on top of clothes or under a hat. Whatever works best for you is ideal.
19) Have Your Retainer Inspected Every Six Months – At least once a six months inspect your retainer and teeth to ensure they’re looking great. Your orthodontist may suggest minor adjustments to your bite to correct misaligned teeth.
20) Clean Your Retainer Daily – Wash your retainer after every meal using mild soap and water. Dry completely before storing and cleaning your retainer is easy to skip. Dirty retainers harbor bacteria that can wreak havoc on your teeth and mouth.
21) Take Care Around Children – Children and adults alike are very active and can cause damage to your retainer. Never chew nails, suck sweets or play with toys designed for children near your retainer.
22) Know How Long You Can Go Without Your Retainer – Depending on the type of device you wear you may miss it more frequently than others. Knowing how long you can go without your retainer will give you peace of mind knowing you won’t be left without your valuable tool during the day.
23) Plan Ahead For Missing Appointments – If you miss an appointment and didn’t notify your orthodontist ahead of time they may reschedule your next appointment based on their schedule and availability. Notifying your orthodontist about missed appointments gives them enough time to adjust their schedule and accommodate your return date.
24) Return All Gifts Given During Treatment – If you receive gifts during your treatment be sure to thank everyone involved. Even if you don’t particularly enjoy receiving items from friends and family be polite when accepting them. Giving back gifts shows respect for those who gave them to you.
25) Ask About Extended Warranties – If you purchased extended warranties or coverage for your retainers be sure to inquire about extending the warranty for an additional year. Getting your retainer covered for another year will save you money in the future.
26) Repair Damaged Retainers Yourself – If you suspect your retainer got bent or cracked during transit you can fix it yourself. Look for signs of damage like frayed wires or missing pieces. Remove the entire retainer and place it inside a vise. Use pliers to bend the wire back into its original position. If you notice small fractures or chips repairing them can become costly. Your Orthodontist will advise you on how to repair damaged retainers.
27) Buy Quality Retainers From Reputable Companies – Finding reputable companies selling quality retainers is easier than you’d think. Buying your retainers online allows you to compare prices, styles and brands. Shopping online lets you read reviews on products and services to ensure you’re purchasing the best ones available.

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