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The Dog Ate My Retainers
American Association of Orthodontists American Association of Orthodontists
St. Louis , MO
Thursday, October 11, 2018

The culprit

This is the story. This is the dog.

The American Association of Orthodontists shares this true story in honor of October's National Orthodontic Health Month.

While cleaning house, the mom of a teenage boy, who got a set of removable retainers after recently getting his braces off, found an oddly mangled "something" on the steps leading to the home's second floor. The item appeared to be made of plastic and wire, and something about the blob seemed familiar. The light bulb goes off, and mom realized the "something" was her son's retainers. They had been left unattended in an area accessible by the family's pet dog, Sydney. The dog chewed the boy's retainers into a useless mass.

This happens with surprising frequency. The working theory is that dogs are attracted by the smell of the materials from which retainers are made, as well saliva. With their powerful jaws, dogs can render retainers useless in no time. Retainers also meet an unfortunate demise when they are sat upon, stepped on, fall out of a purse or pocket, or are accidentally thrown away with a lunch tray or in a napkin. The game of "dumpster diving for retainers" is no one's idea of fun.

Retainers are truly amazing little devices that help hold teeth in their new positions following "active" orthodontic treatment. Wearing them as prescribed by the orthodontist is the most reliable way to preserve the placement of teeth that the patient and doctor worked so hard to achieve. Replacing lost or damaged retainers carries a cost. But they should be replaced as soon as possible to prevent any unwanted movement of the teeth.

Be Careful with Retainers

There are two places for removable retainers: in the mouth or in their case. When taken out of the mouth, retainers should be placed in their case. When taken out of their case, the retainers should be placed in the mouth.

Do not wrap retainers in a napkin – they can easily be thrown away with the trash. Do not place retainers in your pocket unless they are in their protective case. Without the case, retainers that are loose in your pocket can be broken.

Contact your orthodontist immediately if your retainer is lost or broken, if it is not fitting properly, or if eaten by your dog. Remember – you need to wear your retainers, your dog doesn't.

Want to know more? See what's trending in orthodontics.

Members of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) help children, teenagers and adults achieve healthy, beautiful smiles.

Orthodontists are uniquely qualified specialists who diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities to correctly align teeth and jaws. After graduating from dental school, orthodontists receive an additional two to three years of education in orthodontics at an accredited orthodontic residency program. Only orthodontists can be members of the AAO.

Founded in 1900, the AAO is the world’s oldest and largest dental specialty organization. It represents nearly 19,000 orthodontist members throughout the United States, Canada and abroad. The AAO encourages and sponsors key research to enable its members to provide the highest quality of care to patients, and is committed to educating the public about the need for, and benefits of, orthodontic treatment.

For more information, and to find AAO orthodontists near you, visit www.aaoinfo.org.

Pam Paladin
Marketing and Member/Consumer Relations Manager
American Association of Orthodontists
St. Louis, MO