How to Fix A Broken Plastic Retainer

Are you wondering how to fix a broken plastic retainer?

Retainers are an important part of your post-treatment care because it maintains your orthodontic treatment results, making sure that you get to keep your better smile for a long time.

But what do you do when your plastic retainer breaks? It is definitely a situation that you need to address as soon as possible. Without your retainer, your teeth can shift back to its original positions.

In this article, we will discuss the options that you have when it comes to fixing a broken retainer.

Assess the damage

The first thing you should do is to assess the extent of the damage on your broken retainers. There are times when you can still wear your broken retainer for a while and that is when the crack has not split the retainer tray yet.

Broken retainers can still hold your teeth in position even if it has small cracks. If the cracks causes a split, then you definitely could no longer use the retainer. A cracked retainer makes your gums vulnerable to injuries.

But do not wait until a split happens before you make arrangements for a replacement. See your orthodontist right away when you notice any small crack in your removable retainer. This way, you can still continue wearing the cracked retainer while waiting for the new retainer.

Remember that retainers must be custom made to ensure a proper fit so it might take a few days before you get your new retainer.

See your orthodontist

When it comes to fixing your broken plastic retainer, it is important that you leave it to the experts – especially if you are dealing with a permanent retainer. Dental professionals are the only ones allowed to handle dental cement or medical-grade adhesives needed to get your retainer fixed.

But that does not mean you should be careless when it comes to removable retainers. Never try to fix cracks with super glue or other adhesives since they often contain toxic chemicals that your mouth should not be exposed to.

Even if you are able to get medical-grade adhesives over the counter, fixing it yourself can harm the material. You may even do the job incorrectly and this may cause damage to your teeth or gums.

Do not be fooled by articles online that say you can repair your plastic retainer yourself, it is most likely that these articles are feeding you false and misleading information. You do not want to put your entire mouth at risk, would you?

So, once you notice defects on your retainer, get professional help and set an appointment with your orthodontist right away. This is the protocol whether you have a plastic one or a permanent retainer. Your orthodontist will examine your retainer and determine whether it can be repaired or not.

Your orthodontist can still fix a retainer that has minor damages. The cost for repair will be lesser compared to getting a new retainer. But you will most likely be advised to still order a replacement since this repair will just be temporary.

In the appointment, your orthodontist can also suggest that you switch to a fixed retainer if you are having trouble maintaining a plastic one.

How to avoid a broken retainer

Maintain good oral health

Your retainer can easily collect bacteria, plaque, and tartar if you do not clean your teeth and your retainer regularly. You will know when this happens because your retainer will have a weird or bad taste or smell.

Streptococcus can also easily stick to your retainer and when that happens, it can lead to other illnesses. It helps to use an antibacterial mouth rinse to prevent this from happening.

Remove your retainer properly

Remember that there is a proper way to take off your retainer so that you do not strain the material and cause it to break. You are supposed to put one finger on both sides while removing the retainer so that it will not twist or flex as you remove it.

Clean your removable retainer properly

Proper care is important while cleaning your retainer, you are supposed to support it properly so that it does not crack under pressure.

To do so, you should the hold the retainer on your hand or on a clean towel when you brush and clean your retainer so that it will not flex.

You should also make sure that you use lukewarm water only – do not use water that is too hot or cold when cleaning your retainer.

Use only a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush it in small, circular, and gentle motions.

Store retainers properly

Get a proper container for your retainers when it comes to storage. Do not just wrap them in a napkin and set it aside. Your orthodontist can provide a proper container for your retainers and you can even buy some yourself.

Signs that you need a replacement retainer

One way to avoid having to deal with a broken plastic retainer is to replace them regularly. But how would you know if it is time? Here are some signs that you should look out for:

When the retainer feels lose around your teeth.

Unlike a permanent retainer, daily wear can be a problem for a plastic retainer. The plastic material can wear down and this will cause the retainer to widen up or loosen up. A loose retainer will give space for your teeth to shift back to its original position.

When the retainer no longer fits because its shape has changed.

Your retainer can lose its shape once you wash it with boiling water or you use the dishwasher to clean it. It can also stop fitting well if you do not wear your retainer as often as you should – it will hurt when you start to wear it again.

When the retainer shows cracks

Plastic retainers are prone to cracks. Do not allow the cracks to get bigger because this will compromise the retainer’s strength and will cause it to ultimately break up. Once you notice cracks, contact your cosmetic dentist and order a new retainer right away.


Your retainer is the best insurance that you can get to keeping your straightened teeth permanently. A broken retainer is something that you should not wear at all! Make sure to see your dentist immediately for repairs.

A retainer only works if it is rigid and fits well over your teeth. This ensures that your teeth will stay in place and that they won’t shift back to their original position. If one of those functions get compromised, your retainer will not be able to do its job.

Remember, you retainer plays a very important role in maintaining your new, better, and straighter smile. If you have a broken retainer, do not wait for too long to gave it fixed. Have it taken care of as soon as possible so that you can maintain your ideal smile.

Think about all the money that you spent on your orthodontic treatment. Do not let a broken retainer mess all that hard work and put all that money to waste. Your dental treatments are an investment and you should maintain them with great care.

Once your retainer has problems, make sure to have them fixed right away.

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