Help! My Dog Ate My Retainer!

According to Buffalo Grove Orthodontist, Dr. Yan Razdolsky of Forever Smiles there are only two safe places for your retainer - your mouth or the case. Any other place can leave you at risk for loss or damage. Just ask anyone who’s ever had their doggo eat their retainer. No way, you say? Oh yeah, it happens!

Take the story of one patient who only removed their retainers for a quick Snapchat. There they were posting to their story when their new pup Sparky darted out of nowhere and made off with his new prized chew toy. Good luck getting that back in working condition! (Eeeew, puppy slobber.)

Or how about another patient who left her retainer on her bathroom vanity. Her sweet tabby, Mittens bounded up and swatted them into the trash. (Thankfully, Mom found them before they were put out for garbage pickup.)

Not surprisingly, this happens more than you might think. The thought is that pets are drawn to the material retainers are made from. For cats and kittens, there’s just something about swatting things around that seems like fun to them. And think about it… you put the retainer in your mouth. For puppies, the smell of saliva may make them think your retainer is food.

Replacing lost or damaged retainers carries a cost. So, in addition to keeping your retainers safely away from Sparky’s lethal jaws and Mitten’s crafty paws, here’s a few more tips you can follow to keep them safe and working effectively.

Never wrap retainers in a napkin or paper towel! It’s inevitable. At some point someone other than you is going to think it’s discarded waste, scoop it up and toss it in the trash. Yes, it’s happened to a patient in a restaurant. The server snatched it up while clearing the table and the patient wasn’t looking.

Another tip is to never carry retainers in your pocket unless they are in their case. All too easily, they can become bent or broken simply from sitting or wearing your seatbelt.

Don’t leave your retainer sitting out on your vanity or sink. There are a lot of items used around that surface like hair dryers, or styling irons that produce enough heat they can warp them. Not to mention the bacteria they are exposed to. What’s more, your retainer can dry out when exposed sitting out on the counter making them more prone to cracking.

What if your retainers get yucky? You should avoid using harsh chemicals like alcohol-based mouthwashes to clean them. Dr. Yan says water and toothpaste will do the trick just fine. Or if you really want clean, try a very mild vinegar soak. But the best way to keep your retainer fresh is by brushing your teeth before you use it. Using your retainer with dirty teeth will only make the retainer dirty and spread bacteria. Make it a practice to brush your teeth, then the retainer to keep it clean and fresh. But be sure to not use hot water when rinsing or it could warp.

It’s not hard. Just remember when your retainer is not in use, simply keep it in the case Dr. Yan and the team gives you. Don’t put all your hard work, patience, and beautiful Forever Smile at risk.