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Places I Have Left My Retainer

By Ella Bilu


A teenage rite of passage is the struggle to attain perfect teeth. Whether you have to endure three years of braces in your middle school years or deal with brushing your teeth after every meal because of your Invisalign, no one’s journey to straight teeth is enjoyable. A thought that gets you through the process is, “Just [X amount of time] until I never have to do this again and have the teeth of a contestant on The Bachelor.” But, what they don’t tell you (well, they do; you just weren’t listening during the seven meetings you had to discuss treatment) is that afterward, you’ll have to wear a retainer for life. And in my case, I have to wear my retainer full-time for 6 more months!


For some reason, these molded pieces of plastic can cost hundreds of dollars to replace, and with that comes a lot of responsibility for a teenage girl who has to sound an alarm on her iPhone four times a day because she’ll lose it in her sheets or backpack.


  1. In the trash, at least once a month. It’s not my fault that I leave my retainer in a napkin next to a banana peel and wrapper, and someone decides to throw it away!

  2. Under my couch cushions. I was taking a nap.

  3. In the fridge. Don’t know how that happened.

  4. On the floor of my math class. On the floor of a friend’s house. On the floor at my job. After each one of these ensued five minutes of pure embarrassment and a fifteen-minute deep clean.

  5. In the pocket of jeans I've thrown in the washer. They survived!

  6. In between a Frankenstein essay and my ACT prep book. Again, I don't know how that happened.

  7. Between seats in my car next to a bejeweled Mickey Mouse hair clip.


Finally, one place I have never left my retainer is in its case, where it belongs.


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