When it comes to keeping your smile straight, taking care of your retainer is just as important as caring for your braces. But what if your retainer breaks or gets lost? It’s happened to all of us! If you have a broken retainer, don’t panic. Most importantly, don’t try to fix it yourself. Give your orthodontist a call instead and follow the steps we outline below.

How Do Retainers Break?

Both permanent and removable retainers are prone to breaking, especially if consistently worn. Regular wear and tear is the most common cause of broken retainers.

If you wear a permanent retainer bonded to the back of your teeth, you may notice the bonding grow loose over time due to regular activities like brushing and eating. The wires also weaken and eventually break.

If you wear a removable retainer, grinding your teeth in your sleep can gradually wear down the retainer and cause it to crack. You also have the added worry of losing your retainer when you take it out to eat or drink. Don’t wrap your retainer in a napkin (It can get mistakenly thrown away!) or leave it within reach of curious pets.

Beyond regular wear and tear, accidents are another leading cause of broken retainers. While you can remove plastic retainers during physical activity, you have to be a little more careful while wearing a permanent retainer. One impact during a basketball or football game can debond your retainer, break your wires, or cause serious injury.

Finally, watch what you eat! Try to avoid chewing hard candies or ice. Not only can they hurt your teeth, but they can also break or debond your retainer.

What Should I Do If I Have a Broken Retainer?

If your retainer breaks, the first thing you should do is call our office! Our orthodontists in Reading, Allentown, Springfield, and beyond can help get you a new retainer ASAP. Sometimes we may have your impressions on hand. If so, we can have a new retainer ready in no time. We may even be able to mail your removable retainer to you! If you need your permanent retainer rebonded, that only takes a few minutes in our office.

But what if your retainer breaks and you can’t make it to the orthodontist?

  • Purchase an over-the-counter mouthguard or a cheap removable retainer from a drugstore to wear until you can make your appointment. Your teeth can move in as little as one to three nights without a retainer, so a temporary solution is better than nothing!
  • Avoid hard, chewy, or sticky foods. These foods can get lodged in your retainer, causing it to break even more.
  • Avoid sports. Playing sports with a broken permanent retainer can cause you serious physical injury, especially if you have protruding wires.
  • If your mouth is injured or sore from poking or prodding wires, rinse it with warm salt water to prevent infection or bacteria.

Can I Fix My Retainer Myself?

No! DIY methods can cause even more damage…not only to your retainer but to your smile! Whether they’re permanent or removable, retainers are custom-made just for you. Trying to fix your retainer with glue, rubber bands, or tape will never restore your retainer to its original shape. It also puts you at risk of inhaling toxic materials.

Retainers Included at Exeter Smiles!

Did you know that the price of braces includes retainers? When you turn to Exeter Smiles for your orthodontic care, you pay only $3,995 for your traditional braces. This low price includes x-rays, retainers, adjustments, repairs, and emergency visits. Staying affordable and accessible is how we ensure patients can keep their smiles healthy and happy!

If you’re interested in learning more about braces or Invisalign from our team, request a free consultation.