5 Stages of Grief: Losing Your Retainer

Post Braces Treatment - Newpark Orthodontics

You can never truly be prepared for it. But it can happen at any moment.
All of a sudden, you’ve lost your retainer.

In all seriousness, losing a retainer can devastating, but it can happen to anyone. Whether you stored it in a napkin and threw it out during lunch, lost it at your soccer game, or your dog ate it… it’s a common problem and a lot of our patients find themselves going through the same phases of grief:

  1. Denial
    “No, I didn’t lose my retainer. I’m sure it’s safe at home.” While you’re searching your bag or patting around your pockets to try and find your retainer, you tell yourself that everything is fine. During this stage, it’s normal to deny the fact that you already know – your retainer is gone.

    Soon, you’ll start to accept that you have lost your retainer, and the denial will fade.
  2. Anger
    As the realization hits, you start lashing out at the people who were with you when you lost it. Shouting things like “Why did you let me throw that napkin in the trash?!” at your friends is another normal part of the process.
    Thankfully, your friends are understanding and will help you through the anger. Some may even search through the dumpsters with you.
  3. Bargaining
    After acknowledging that your retainer is gone and getting the anger out, the next stage is bargaining. You might find yourself begging the universe to magically locate your retainer, or promise that you’ll be a better person and live a life of service if you could just get your retainer back. Lost in a puzzle of “if onlys” and “what ifs”, you will soon reach the end of negotiations with yourself.
  4. Depression
    In the next stage of grief after the loss of a retainer, you will begin to feel the pain of the loss. Your teeth might start to ache, missing the support of the retainer and concern over how much it will cost to replace. It’s important to understand that this stage is necessary for the healing process after losing your retainer. Feeling sad is how you will move on to the next stage.
  5. Acceptance
    After going through these phases, you will come to the final stage: acceptance. At this point, you are certain that your retainer is gone and you will not be able to get it back.

    Reaching the final stage of acceptance allows you to have a discussion with your parents about how you can fund the replacement retainers. By accepting the loss of your retainer, you can move forward quickly and take the necessary steps to protect your teeth from shifting.

Your retainers are an important part of your post-braces treatment. Even though replacing a lost retainer can be expensive, it’s important to continue using one in order to prevent your teeth from shifting back into their original, misaligned position.

If you lost your retainer, it’s important to act quickly. Book an appointment at Newpark Orthodontics with our orthodontist in Alpharetta, so Dr. Nima and our staff can get you a replacement as soon as possible. We also serve patients in Johns Creek and Roswell