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So your child is finally out of braces, you have made the final payment, and now their pearly whites are sparkling straight every time they smile at you (which, if they are a typical teen might not be all that often). Nevertheless, you have also realized that after all those months of beautiful orthodontia, the trick is to keep those teeth as straight as they were the day the braces came off. And that means, you have met…the retainer.

Next to the actual braces your child wore, the retainer is the most important device to keeping the teeth in proper alignment. It is the one thing between them and misaligned teeth again. This makes it precious, as precious as The Precious itself (if you are a Tolkien fan).

Instead of gold, your child’s removable retainer is a custom-made hard plastic material bonded with metal to fit inside their mouth to keep the teeth in place. If something happens to the retainer (and you would be surprised at how many times it has for hapless parents before you), you will face the replacement cost, not to mention the time lost wearing the device which may allow the teeth to start shifting. With a retainer, wearing time is as precious as the device itself!

Your best bet is to help your child keep from losing their retainer during their daily routine. The most likely place of losing it is school, or whenever they eat a meal away from home.

Some parents have found the following helpful:

Skin in the game—sit down and talk to your child about being responsible for paying part of the cost of replacing a lost retainer (money talks in a teen’s world).

Keep the retainer in a colorful container; the more eye-catching, the better.

In case the container itself with the retainer inside is lost, label it with contact information so it can be safely returned.

Ask your child to keep the container in the same spot so they will know something is up when it isn’t there.

Hopefully your child’s retainer wearing years will be as successful as their time wearing braces! As always, please let us know if you have any questions, we are here to help! 214.824.2130