i lost my dental retainers

What do I do if I lost my retainers?

Reviewed and updated for accuracy on 06/03/23

If you have lost your retainers, it’s important to take action to prevent your teeth from shifting. While it’s always recommended to consult with your orthodontist or dentist for personalized advice, there are some general steps you can take:

  1. Contact your orthodontist or dentist: Reach out to your dental professional as soon as possible to inform them about your lost retainers. They will provide guidance based on your specific situation and may recommend a course of action.
  2. Consider getting replacement retainers online: Your orthodontist or dentist may suggest getting replacement retainers to prevent teeth movement. It’s important to note that the cost of orthodontist-made retainers can be quite high, often exceeding $500 or more.
  3. Explore alternative options: If you’re looking for more affordable alternatives, you can consider options like the Sentinel Mouthguards Dental Retainers. The process requires you to make an impression of your teeth at home, which is then sent to our lab to create your retainers. Sentinel Mouthguards offers a range of products, including affordable retainers, that are effective for many individuals.
  4. Follow the instructions carefully: Whether you opt for orthodontist-made retainers or alternatives like Sentinel Mouthguards, it’s crucial to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer or dental professional. Proper usage and maintenance of your retainers are vital to ensure they work effectively in preventing teeth movement.
lab direct dental retainers buy now graphic

Ordering your new set of dental retainers online is quicker, easier and more affordable than you may think! Below, we discuss some common dental retainer questions and answers.

I lost my retainers and my teeth are moving. How quickly will they shift back?

When you lose your retainers, it’s natural to be concerned about your teeth shifting. The exact timeline for teeth movement can vary depending on various factors, including the individual’s age, the duration of previous orthodontic treatment, and the natural stability of their teeth.

Typically, teeth start to move relatively soon after the retainer is no longer worn. Some orthodontists recommend wearing retainers full-time (except for eating and oral hygiene) for a few months after the completion of orthodontic treatment. After that, they may advise wearing them only at night to maintain the alignment achieved.

If you’ve lost your retainers and you’re worried about your teeth shifting, it’s best to contact your orthodontist or dentist as soon as possible. They will be able to provide professional guidance based on your specific situation. They may recommend getting replacement retainers or suggest alternative solutions to prevent significant tooth movement.

Remember, it’s important to address this concern promptly because the longer you wait, the more likely it is for your teeth to start shifting. Dental professionals can provide the most accurate advice tailored to your unique needs and circumstances.

How much does it cost to replace a lost retainer?

The cost of replacing a lost retainer can vary depending on several factors, including the type of retainer, your location, and the policies of your orthodontist or dentist. Generally, the cost of replacement retainers can range from around $200 (if you order a replacement set online) to $500 or more (average orthodontist cost).

The exact cost will depend on whether you need a traditional wire retainer, an Essix retainer (clear, removable), or a specialized retainer. In some cases, additional fees may be incurred if you require adjustments or modifications to the retainer.

Does insurance cover lost retainers?

Whether insurance covers lost retainers can vary depending on your specific dental insurance plan. Some dental insurance plans may provide coverage for the replacement of lost or damaged retainers, while others may not. It’s important to review the details of your insurance policy or contact your dental insurance provider directly to understand the specific coverage and any limitations or exclusions related to retainer replacement.

When contacting your dental insurance provider, consider asking the following questions:

  1. Does my dental insurance plan cover the replacement of lost or damaged retainers?
  2. Are there any specific conditions or requirements for coverage?
  3. Is there a waiting period before coverage for retainers kicks in?
  4. Is there a limit to the number of times retainers can be replaced or the coverage amount for retainer replacement?
  5. Are there any deductible or copayment requirements for retainer replacement?

It’s also worth noting that even if insurance coverage is available, there may be some out-of-pocket expenses or limitations, such as deductibles or a maximum coverage amount.

To ensure you have accurate information about your insurance coverage, it’s recommended to contact your dental insurance provider directly. They will be able to provide you with the most up-to-date and personalized information regarding the coverage for replacing lost retainers under your specific plan.

Can I go 2 weeks without my retainer?

It’s generally not recommended to go for an extended period without wearing your retainer if it was prescribed by your orthodontist or dentist. The exact timeframe that you can safely go without your retainer may vary depending on factors such as the duration of your previous orthodontic treatment and the stability of your teeth.

However, in general, if you’ve been advised to wear your retainer consistently, skipping it for two weeks can increase the risk of your teeth shifting. Teeth have a natural tendency to move and shift over time, and the purpose of retainers is to maintain the alignment achieved through orthodontic treatment.

If you are unable to wear your retainer for a short period, it’s important to communicate with your orthodontist or dentist and seek their guidance. They may provide specific instructions based on your individual circumstances. They might recommend increasing the wear time once you resume wearing your retainer to help counteract any potential shifting that may have occurred during the break.

Remember, the longer you go without wearing your retainer, the more likely it is for your teeth to start moving. It’s always best to follow the instructions provided by your dental professional and wear your retainer as advised to help preserve the alignment of your teeth.

I’m ordering a set of Sentinel Mouthguards Replacement Dental Retainers. How does the process work?

After placing your order, Sentinel Mouthguards will mail an at-home impression kit. This kit includes detailed instructions on how to make an impression of your teeth at home. Follow the instructions carefully to create an accurate impression of your teeth.

Once you have made the impression(s), you will use the prepaid mailer provided to send the impressions back to Sentinel Mouthguards.

Once Sentinel Mouthguards receives your impression(s), we will use it to fabricate your replacement retainers.

Can I force my old retainers to fit if my teeth have shifted?

Attempting to force your old retainers to fit when your teeth have shifted can potentially cause discomfort, pain, or even damage to your teeth or the retainers themselves. It’s essential to consult with your orthodontist or dentist to assess the situation and determine the best course of action.

Remember, retainers play an important role in maintaining the alignment of your teeth. If you’re concerned about your teeth shifting, it’s best to seek professional advice from a dental professional who can evaluate your specific situation and provide the most appropriate guidance.

Can you shift my teeth back to their original position if I give you my molds from my dentist?

Sentinel Mouthguards does not straighten teeth. When straightening your teeth, you need to always be under the care of a qualified orthodontist. If you didn’t wear your dental retainers after braces and your teeth have shifted, you cannot correct the position of the teeth on your own. Always contact your orthodontist to discuss options for correcting your teeth alignment once they have shifted.

My dog chewed my dental retainers. Will my dentist make new ones for free?

This depends on your dentist but most likely no. You will likely incur a fee to have a new set of replacement retainers made.

How often should I wear my retainers?

The frequency of wearing dental retainers can vary depending on the recommendation of your orthodontist or dentist, as well as your individual orthodontic needs. Generally, there are two phases of retainer wear: the initial phase and the long-term phase.

During the initial phase, which typically lasts a few months, you may be advised to wear your retainers full-time, except when eating, brushing your teeth, or participating in certain activities. This phase allows for the stabilization of your teeth in their new position after orthodontic treatment.

I lost my dental retainers and can't afford a new one
(pictured) Sentinel Mouthguards Custom Dental Retainer Set

After the initial phase, your orthodontist or dentist may advise transitioning to the long-term phase. In this phase, you may be instructed to wear your retainers primarily at night while you sleep. This helps maintain the alignment achieved during orthodontic treatment and prevents your teeth from shifting.

It’s important to follow your dental professional’s specific recommendations regarding the wear schedule for your retainers. Each person’s situation is unique, and your orthodontist or dentist will consider factors such as the complexity of your orthodontic treatment and the stability of your teeth.

Consistency in wearing your retainers is crucial. Neglecting to wear them as recommended can lead to tooth movement and compromise the results of your orthodontic treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about the wear schedule for your retainers, it’s best to consult with your dental professional for personalized guidance.

My retainers broke but I’m still wearing them. Is this okay?

If your retainers have broken but you’re still wearing them, it’s generally not recommended to continue using them in that condition. When retainers break, they may not provide the necessary support and stability to maintain the alignment of your teeth effectively. Additionally, broken retainers can have sharp edges or rough surfaces that can cause irritation or injury to your mouth.

How do I keep my retainers clean?

To keep your dental retainers clean, here are some general tips to follow:

  1. Rinse with water: After removing your retainers, rinse them with water to remove any saliva or food particles. This simple step can help prevent the buildup of bacteria and plaque.
  2. Brush gently: Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and a mild, non-abrasive toothpaste to gently brush your retainers. This can help remove any remaining debris and keep them clean. Avoid using hot water, as it can distort or damage the retainers.
  3. Soak in a cleansing solution: Soaking your retainers in a denture or retainer cleansing solution can help eliminate bacteria and keep them fresh. Follow the instructions provided with the cleansing solution and avoid using harsh chemicals or solutions not specifically recommended for retainers.
  4. Avoid using mouthwash or hot water: While mouthwash may seem like a good option, it can contain alcohol or other ingredients that may be too harsh for your retainers. Similarly, hot water can cause the retainers to lose their shape or warp, so it’s best to use lukewarm or cool water instead.
  5. Store properly: When you’re not wearing your retainers, store them in their designated case. This helps protect them from damage and prevents them from accumulating dirt or being accidentally thrown away.
  6. Clean your case: Regularly clean your retainer case with mild soap and water to prevent the growth of bacteria. Allow the case to dry thoroughly before placing your retainers back in it.

Need a set of replacement dental retainers? Contact us today!


sentinel mouthguards author
Ashely Notarmaso

Ashely Notarmaso is the author behind the Sentinel Mouth Guard Blog. She is the CEO and founder of Sentinel Mouth Guards (Founded in 2012) Her long-time work in the dental mouth guard arena and her excellent ability to listen to customer concerns in this often contradictory field has laid the groundwork to explore night guard/mouth guard fabrication in-depth and address real concerns. With the help of her team, she has created a unique fabrication method that promises a great fitting custom oral appliance every time. Amazon’s choice for #1 mouth guard! Visit the online store http://sentinelmouthguards.com

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