Retainer Challenged

There are two kinds of children. Those who lose their retainers and those who don’t. I happen to have one of each. My son, now 21, has never been retainer-less. Since he got his braces off six years ago he’s been diligent regarding all things retainer. I know this because I’ve never had to buy him a new retainer and his teeth still look straight as the day the braces came off.

Sadly, I can’t say the same thing about my daughter. She’s, to be kind, retainer challenged. The latest episode in “Where’s Bella’s Retainer” ended up with her hypothesizing that the dog ate it. Specifically, our beagle.

To be fair the beagle doesn’t have a discriminating palate, but I don’t see him chowing down on a retainer. He turns his nose up at a Milk Bones so I’m skeptical he found a wire and plastic apparatus appetizing. Also, in the TMI department I pick up his poop so I think I would notice the remnants of a retainer.

But because I’m either a bad mother or just a tired one that’s the story we took to the orthodontist. To the credit of the entire office no one yelled liar or even rolled an eye. I don’t know maybe replacing retainers is a huge money-maker. Perhaps it’s an orthodontist gold mine with a high volume and big mark-up that helps subsidies all those rubber bands they give out.

It also made me curious to what retainer excuses people in the smile business had heard. Maybe my daughter’s “my dog ate my retainer” didn’t even register on the scale of wacky orthodontics appliances stories. So, I decided to launch my own investigation. I was going to find out the most outlandish excuses ortho employees had heard about “How I lost my retainer.”

The third best retainer tale of woe I was told concerned a child who must have been a diligent retainer wearer because he had it in during a surf lesson and upon being hit by a “major wave” lost it in the majestic waters of the Pacific. Perhaps somewhere in the briny depths a baby shark is enjoying some free orthodontic work towards a more beautiful smile courtesy of this retainer.

Coming in at number two was my little brother ate it. This one totally surpasses dog – big time. It would also lead you to ask a follow-up question. As in did this necessitate a trip to the E.R.?

The number one most bizarre story was my retainer got flushed down the toilet. Hmm, this one seems like a stretch because not only would both parts of the retainer have to take a porcelain swim, but then you would have to flush.

I asked the veteran orthodontist sharing this if she inquired to the person telling her the story why upon noticing that you dropped your retainer in the toilet wouldn’t you fish it out and commence an industrial grade sterilization sequence. She smirked and said that she did indeed ask about this and was told “the retainer was disguised by number 2.” (Gag.)

Maybe there needs to be some sort of chip implanted in retainers so you can locate them with your phone. Seriously, someone develop that app asap. My daughter’s going to need it. I just texted her (with three mad face emojis and in all caps) that her dad and I had just bought her the last retainer on our dime. The next one’s on her.