What to Do if Your Permanent Retainer Falls Off
A permanent retainer can last many years as long as you take care of it. Eventually, however, time will take its toll. The cement holding your retainer to your teeth doesn't last forever, and in time, this may cause your retainer to come loose or even break off altogether. When this happens you face two dilemmas that need to be addressed quickly.
Remove the Cement and Replace the Retainer
The most pressing issue is that your teeth will begin to relapse. How long this takes varies from person to person. There is no scientifically exact timeframe. The relapse could occur in weeks or years--but you can be sure that it will eventually happen. The second issue is that the glue left on the backs of your teeth also needs to be removed before it causes lacerations to your tongue.
If you have insurance, most, if not all of the cost of replacement should be covered, however, even if you don't, you should at least have a dentist remove the cement. There is also another alternative to completely replacing your permanent retainer should the cost be something that puts you. A removable, plastic retainer is cheaper and perhaps more convenient.
Purchase a Removable Retainer Instead
Plastic retainers such as the Essix retainer are both removable and up to 50% cheaper than permanent retainers. If cost and convenience are your primary concerns in terms of finding a replacement then an Essix retainer might be ideal. Made of medical grade plastic, these retainers can do the work of your permanent retainer but require a little more responsibility on your part.
The most important thing is that you at least protect your teeth against the risk of future relapse. Otherwise, you could find yourself needing braces again due to the natural movement of your teeth. If cost is an issue, have your dentist make you a single plastic retainer for now. Ideally, you should invest in two plastic retainers, which will cost approximately the same as one permanent retainer.
Repair Partially Broken Retainers
If your permanent retainer is only partially broken or loose then you can probably have your orthodontist repair it for a small fee. However, do not attempt to remove the retainer or the cement yourself. You could end up chipping or even breaking a tooth. Likewise, remember that your teeth will most likely relapse if you don't get a replacement so consider this when weighing up the pros and cons.
If your permanent retainer breaks, call your orthodontist as soon as you can. It is only a matter of time before the forces of nature move your teeth back to their former positions. For more information, contact an emergency dentist.