Do It Yourself Dad - A Retainer Story To Remember

Have you ever wondered where all those missing retainers go?

Well, our patients have some amazing stories to tell. Fact, fiction or just plain silly . . . only our patients know for sure. All we ask is that the stories entertain us, and many of our patients deliver just that. We thought we’d share a few of the stories we have received as a regular Blog feature. Here's this month's story . . .

Do It Yourself Dad

“Ow, ow, ow!,” Laura sighed heavily and sat up in her bed, pulling her night mask off and switching on the light. Yanking an orange retainer out of her mouth, she surveyed it contemptuously. The mouthpiece had been causing her pain for a few days now, and she couldn’t sleep with the constant irritation it put on her gums. She had tried everything, from Orajel to Tylenol, but the pain wouldn’t go away. Looking at the clock, she noted it was already 10 pm. “I have school tomorrow!,” she thought. “I have to do something about this so I can sleep!”

Trotting downstairs to where her parents were playing solitaire and muttering under their breath about politics, she proclaimed her dilemma. “My retainer doesn’t fit right!” At the voice, they both turned and her dad smiled in a familiar way that made her wish she hadn’t said anything.

“I’ll fix it!”, the handyman father declared as he jumped up and grabbed the orthodontic device out of her hands before she could protest. Her mom just shook her head knowingly.

“This will all end in tears,” Laura’s gloomy brother, Michael, decreed from the couch as Laura smiled nervously and followed her father into his workshop. He was already at work, pulling out various power tools and sealants. The “fix-it-yourself” vibe floating off of him that was almost too strong to bear. “Don’t worry,” he placated. “I’ll have this fitting right faster than you can fry a pan of bacon!”

Laura did not understand how this was a good analogy seeing how the breakfast meat always took a long time to cook. How she was supposed to not worry? Her father was notorious for his repairman attitude that resulted in them rarely calling a professional to patch up anything. This was sometimes a good thing as he was very skilled with plumbing, electronics, and vehicles. The home repairman saved them lots of money, but with delicate things like retainers, Laura didn’t trust him for a second.

A horrid sound snapped her out of her rumination, and Laura realized with dismay that for some ludicrous reason her dad was starting up his industrial sander. The sandpaper whipped by at an incredible speed as he held the mouthpiece down to the surface, scraping away layer after layer of plastic. After a few moments, he held my retainer up and frowned, his daughter flitting around him like a panicky butterfly. “Hmm . . .” he pondered. “I think I took too much off.”

And so, that was the end of my retainer. The moral of this story . . . beware of the Do-It-Yourself Dad. He means well, but some things are better left to the professionals!