A lost or broken orthodontic retainer is a problem that needs prompt action. This is especially important during the first year after braces are removed. For the first 10 to 12 months the bone around the teeth is getting stronger.
First thing to do is call your orthodontist and let them know there is a problem. If the retainer is not found or if it is broken, the orthodontist will need a new impression (mold of the teeth) to make a replacement. The replacement may take up to two weeks to have made.
There is no insurance for lost retainers. The cost can vary from $100 each to more than $300 each depending on the type of retainer and the orthodontist fees.
If your teeth have already shifted, a treatment retainer may do the job to return you to your best smile. A treatment retainer takes several ongoing adjustments by the orthodontist to move teeth back into place. It must be worn all the time to be effective. The cost will also be greater than a passive retainer.