What Should I Do if I Have a Broken Retainer?

What Should I Do if I Have a Broken Retainer?
Author: Posted: July 29th, 2022 Category:

Getting a repaired or replacement retainer quickly isn’t always possible. Here’s what to do while you wait for a new retainer.

Congratulations! You’re finally done with braces or Invisalign trays. Now, you can enjoy the straight teeth of your dreams. But there’s one more step in the process: You must wear either a fixed or removable retainer to keep your teeth in place.

But what happens if the retainer is damaged or lost? Your first call is to your orthodontist for advice and an appointment. Unfortunately, you may not get an appointment immediately and don’t want to go too long without a retainer. Not wearing the retainer or having a broken device in your mouth could undo all the progress your braces have made. But here’s what you can do in the meantime if you have a broken retainer.

What to do if you break or lose your retainer

You should wear removable retainers every day following your orthodontic treatment. You can take the device out when you eat or drink, and when your teeth have shifted into proper alignment, you can just wear the retainer at night. But because you can remove your retainers, it’s quite easy to misplace them.

On the other hand, wires attach fixed retainers to the back of your teeth. The retainer wires may break if you bite on hard foods or suffer a mouth injury. 

Whichever retainer you have, it’s crucial to quickly get it repaired or replaced. But we get that it’s not always possible to do so quickly. Before you visit your orthodontist, check the damage first. If you have a removable retainer, you can see the severity of the damage. You can temporarily wear a slightly damaged retainer if it fits in your mouth and does not cause pain. However, an over-the-counter replacement retainer works in a pinch if the breakage is significant. It will tide you over until you can see your dentist.

Viewing the damage on a fixed retainer may be difficult, so you can ask someone to help you inspect it. Only an orthodontist can remove a fixed retainer. But in the meantime, you can prevent further damage by wearing a mouthguard at night. It will protect the retainer and stop further slippage in teeth alignment.

Your orthodontist will decide if the retainer can be salvaged or if a new one is needed. If you’ve just started with your removable retainer, your orthodontist may be able to ship you a new one based on the most recent measurements.

How to prevent further damage to the retainer

Although a broken retainer is rare, you shouldn’t take it lightly. You don’t want to reverse years of expensive orthodontic therapy. Even a short period without a retainer may cause your teeth to shift out of alignment, and you may have to repeat the process. Get to your orthodontist as soon as possible. But if you can’t, try these at-home fixes for both removable and fixed retainers to keep your smile straight and your mouth healthy.

  • Refrain from any sporting activities that could injure your mouth.
  • Don’t chew on hard candies or foods.
  • Rinse with warm salt water to relieve any pain.
  • Practice good oral hygiene. Bacteria and food may reach areas that were previously covered by the retainer. An antibacterial mouthwash can prevent cavity-causing bacteria from forming.

Keep your pearly whites straight!

Schedule an appointment at Espire’s Fort Collins location today! Our highly trained dentists and orthodontists can repair or replace a damaged retainer to keep your teeth straight. Don’t live near our Fort Collins, Colorado office? Find one of our other locations near you.

Fort Collins
2117 Custer Drive
Fort Collins, CO 80525